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Retail in a Digital Age: The Challenges and Opportunities

Updated: Jan 10

It's no secret that the retail industry faces some tough challenges. With the rise of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores have been forced to adapt or die for decades. Brands are challenged with having a forceful presence offline and online. There are many opportunities for retailers to embrace the change and leverage technology. This blog post will discuss some challenges retailers face in the digital age and how customer data platforms (CDP) can help them overcome them.

The growth of eCommerce has brought about many changes in the retail landscape. One of the biggest challenges for retailers is keeping up with customer expectations. CDPs can help by providing a 360-degree view of the customer, tracking their journey from awareness to purchase and beyond. This data can then be used to personalize the shopping experience and ensure that customers have a positive experience with the brand. Additionally, eCommerce has made it more difficult for retailers to keep products in stock. This can often lead to out-of-stock situations, frustrating customers and damaging the brand's reputation.

Finally, staffing is another challenge that retail brands face due to the shift to online shopping. In-store employees need to be trained to handle online orders, and customer service needs to be available to address any issues that may arise. By understanding these challenges and how to address them, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in the eCommerce world.

Retail challenges in the digital age

1. Challenges faced by retailers in the digital age.

The retail industry is under siege. eCommerce has disrupted traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, forcing them to adapt or die. Many well-known retailers have already closed their doors, while others are struggling to stay afloat. Just look at Bed, Bath & Beyond as an example. The challenges faced by retailers are numerous, but some of the most pressing include the following:

Competition from eCommerce giants like Amazon: Amazon's dominance of the e-commerce market has made it difficult for other retailers to keep up. Amazon's loyal customer base and its prices are tough to beat. Additionally, Amazon has a vast product selection and offers Prime shipping, which gives it a significant competitive advantage.

The rise of mobile commerce: More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to purchase. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend as people have turned to contactless payments and delivery options out of necessity. Retailers who don't have a strong mobile presence are at risk of losing out on sales.

Omni-channel shopping: Omni-channel shopping refers to shopping across multiple channels, including in-store, online, and mobile devices. Consumers expect a consistent experience regardless of how they're shopping, and those that don't deliver will lose business. Retailers must be able to meet shoppers where they are and provide a seamless experience if they want to stay competitive.

Retail opportunities due to new technology

2. How customer data platforms can help retailers deliver more personalized experiences

In today's competitive retail landscape, customer experience is everything. Yet according to

Retail Touchpoints, only 45% of brands currently use customer data to drive promotions or personalization. To deliver the best possible customer experience, retailers need to be able to orchestrate their customer data across various channels and touchpoints. This is where CDPs come in. CDPs help retailers gather customer data from various sources and create a unified view of the customer. This unified view of the customer allows retailers to deliver more personalized experiences and messages. As a result, CDPs are becoming an essential tool for retailers who want to stay ahead of the competition.

To compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon, retailers must leverage a whole technology stack. In which CDPs collect and analyze customer data across all channels. This data can then deliver more personalized experiences throughout the customer journey—from awareness to purchase—and ultimately increase sales.

A great customer experience (CX) is essential to the success of any business, yet it can be difficult to achieve. A well-executed CX marketing campaign can help to bridge the gap between customer expectation and reality. This is what top eCommerce brands constantly keep in mind.

There are several steps that retailers can take to execute a successful CX marketing campaign using a CDP:

1) Define your audience: The first step is to segment your customers into groups based on shared characteristics such as demographics, behavior, or preferences. This will allow you to create targeted messages that resonate with each group. Eventually, your data can tell you which audiences to define, but everyone has to start somewhere.

2) Collect customer data: Once you've defined your audiences, you'll need to collect data on them. Unless you are a new brand, every business like has lots of data in their email automation, like Mailchimp and Klaviyo. This data can be collected through surveys, website behavior tracking, social media listening, or customer service interactions. Don't forget you there is customer data in every transaction with your business too.

3) Analyze customer data: Once you've collected enough data, it's time to start analyzing it to gain insights into your customers' needs and desires. Look for patterns in behavior or purchase history that can help you better understand your customers' needs.

4) Create targeted messages: Using the insights gained from your analysis, create targeted messages that resonate with each segment of your audience. This step is perhaps the most non-technical; however, it is most important to consider the customer journey and context around the interaction to create memorable messaging that will resonate and connect with the group of customers here. Messaging is the foundation of personalization.

5) Deliver personalized experiences: Use your CDP to deliver personalized experiences across all channels—from email and web personalization to targeted ads and recommendations—to increase sales. When you think about the customer experience with the different customer journeys, you can orchestrate different personalized experiences and make the customer feel supported and loved. Further, the CDP can align marketing, product, and customer success for enterprises so your team can execute their part.

6) Measure success: Be sure to measure the success of your campaign so you can fine-tune your approach as needed. As I mentioned in step 1, the data can tell you how and who to segment and personalize for. Make sure you continuously measure the outcomes in terms of change in conversion rate, churn rate, marketing lift, sales acceleration, etc.

By following these steps, retailers can use CDPs to collect customer data and deliver more personalized experiences—ultimately increasing sales and staying competitive in a digital age. If your business needs help with these challenges, reach out to us, we'd be happy to help meet those challenges with the opportunities CDPs bring.

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