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Transforming Retail with Data Management: 4 Steps to Success

Align data needs with business strategy to ensure internal systems and data management processes support growth.

As an industry, one of the greatest challenges for retail businesses is ensuring a consistent customer experience during each visit and across all channels.

In fact, understanding customer expectations, likes and dislikes, and purchasing behavior is key to repeatedly and seamlessly delighting each customer, in each interaction, and in each sales channel. 

Most often, companies lack access and insight into critical customer information because their data is inaccessible, or spread over multiple, disparate systems – across various locations, technologies and platforms – with no single source of truth. 

So how to solve this lack of insight into your data? It starts with Master Data Management – and a single source of trusted information. 

Master data management for successful retail operations

Master Data Management streamlines operations and assists data governance by reconciling disparate data records into a golden record and source of truth. With retail master data management software, businesses can leverage one intelligent platform to consolidate enterprise data to find and learn new information and derive trusted insights to make informed decisions faster, better, and more effectively. 

When you have reliable data, you can react to change and proactively respond to market forces. And when all applications that manage customer data are connected with 360 view of customer itinerary, you benefit from:

  • Better communication
  • Greater retention 
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Successful retail operations are built to retain agility and make significant changes quickly, turning on a dime when needed to interact with clients or segments, prioritizing products, managing supply chain, reducing churn, and anticipating or responding to market forces. 

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Here are 4 steps to help you get started

Build your initial business case:
What is the business problem you are trying to solve? Define the tangible business goals you want to achieve, for example: improve online adoption rates, track marketing campaign effectiveness, increase sales by x%, upsell existing customers, reduce returns, consolidate customer records, etc. Focus on areas where you can gain tangible value like increasing revenue, cost savings, marketing performance, increasing online or in-store sales, and greater efficiency. Involve each group in your company to ensure buy-in.

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Develop your MDM roadmap:
The roadmap is the place to tie your business needs to your data strategy. Identify the goals you ultimately want to achieve, but start with the burning issue you want to attack now.  What are the data domains causing you the most problems, what are the areas of the business that are creating the most headaches? Take some time to identify areas that could be improved – reporting taking too long? Departments not communicating effectively? Identify your data pain points and see those as opportunities. Then prioritize your business cases and you have developed a road map. Identify where you want to go and make a list of all the steps to get here, adding complexity as you build expertise.

Get your business ready.
The next step is to get your internal teams together for a data and process audit to identify where data management and processes can be improved. Many organizations don’t know the full extent of what systems they have, where the systems are, what data is housed in these systems and which data needs to be protected?

Once compiled, review all data sources and quality – bad data quality causes a lot of delay and duplications of data cause a lot of errors. Review where you have the option to break down silos of data: logistics, customer service, reporting, etc. and prioritize based on your roadmap.

Review what processes you are trying to improve or which new processes you would like to implement. Involve not only internal teams, but other external entities or partners you share data with – vendors, suppliers, etc.

Select a vendor.
Features and functions are important, yes, but most important is to look at MDM as a long-term partnership for not only a few months but 5-10 years. What is the customer satisfaction rate? Does the company have favorable reviews from 3rd party sources? How will their technology work with your current systems? 

Successful MDM is not simply about implementing a tool, it is a partnership where a successful outcome is driven by collaboration. Speak to your vendor about their capacity to help you manage future projects, manage acquisitions and address changes in systems and in the marketplace. 

Look at your business case roadmap and pick the vendor that has all the people, framework and tools to support your journey. MDM is a journey, so learn to crawl before you walk. Any project will need discipline – a flexible roadmap, clear objectives and strong sponsorship.

With a unified data platform, you can empower your business units with more control. Every aspect of your retail operation — from storefront to warehouse and marketing to customer support — is empowered by real-time knowledge of your consumers and what they need.

What are you waiting for? Contact us today and let’s get started!