Loyalty is Critical to Retail, and Data is Critical to Loyalty

Vera Bradley and ActionIQ at CRMC

Loyalty is critical to retail, and data is critical to loyalty. In other words, as one attendee at this summer’s CRMC 2019 conference put it, “loyalty is the new black.”  

Indeed, loyalty—and the ability to leverage customer data to keep them coming back—was a key theme of the premiere CRM conference, which took place in Chicago from June 5-7. Almost every keynote and panel discussion at least touched on these themes.  

And it was easy to see why loyalty is on retailers’ minds. In the digital age, customer loyalty is harder than ever to win and maintain. However, leading retailers shared examples again and again how they are successfully harnessing customer data to drive the kind of seamless, personalized experiences that work. 

Connecting Online and Offline Data

ActionIQ’s own Tasso Argyros, co-founder and CEO, joined the Vera Bradley’s Chief Customer Officer, Daren Hull, for a panel on using first-party customer data to drive personalized experiences at scale. Hull explained to the packed crowd how the leading American bag and luggage company and iconic lifestyle brand uses customer data to create seamless interactions, regardless of which channel customers choose to interact with.

And you can’t do that with siloed data, Argyros explained. 

“You need to be able to connect both physical and digital data into a unified profile,” Argyros said. 

Loyalty Programs Not Just About Rewards 

Everyone loves free stuff, but many retailers at the conference emphasized the fact that rewards alone are not always enough anymore. 

For example, loyalty programs drive more value when they use customer data to personalize program interactions to individual customers—showing them personal account information, surfacing rewards that are most likely to appeal to them, etc. 

Other retailers discussed the creative ways they have used data to design special members-only products, as well as ways to involve appealing philanthropic causes into loyalty programs. 

CDPs on the Mind

Given the growing demand for a unified customer view, CDPs were definitely top-of-mind for many attendees. Their interest seemed to confirm the CDP Institute’s prediction that the market for CDPs will hit $1 billion this year. 

However, many retailers are still trying to wrap their minds around how a CDP fits into their overall martech stack

“From our perspective, an enterprise CDP becomes the brain of the marketing technology stack,” explained James Meyers, ActionIQ’s Marketing Technology Strategist.  

It is regarded as a hub  because it connects to all source systems containing customer data, as well as to all kinds of marketing execution systems, he explained. 

That said, the CDP brain can better serve the decision-making function of the martech stack. While a CDP is engineered to be comprehensive and harness data from all systems for intelligence, most brands today produce a disconnected customer experience because of a reliance on channel-specific tools with limited data. 

Overall, our experience at CRMC was fantastic. Whether brands choose our enterprise CDP, another CDP, or build a solution on their own, retailers’ creativity and innovation to leverage data for loyalty was truly inspiring.  

Learn more about driving loyalty with your own customer data.

Tamara Gruzbarg
Tamara Gruzbarg
Head of Insights and Strategy
Expert analytics executive with 20+ years of experience, guiding organizations through rapid data transformation and growth. Designed and implemented ML-powered solutions in areas of Customer Acquisition, Personalization, CRM and Campaign Management across Financial Services, Omnichannel Retail and Media.
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