Retail’s Guide to Building 360° Customer Profiles

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

To create the ultimate customer experience perfect for the modern consumer, retail brands need to build comprehensive, all-encompassing customer profiles.

Article 7 Minutes
Retail’s Guide to Building 360° Customer Profiles

Did you know that two-thirds (60%) of consumers would pay more for goods if the brand offered a better customer experience, even in a tough economy? What’s more, a further 80% said they would be more inclined to purchase from a retail brand that provided a personalised shopping experience.

Those in the know have already begun to utilise these facts, which is why we have seen an increase in social commerce, influencer marketing and augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences.

But how do you go about advancing your customer experience in today’s competitive market?

Well, having a 360° view of your customers is the cornerstone of data-driven marketing and being able to offer personalised customer experiences (CX). So if ever there was a time to think big, grow rapidly and break new ground with the demanding retail consumer, it’s now.

And 360° customer profiles can help you to do this.

These profiles contain the all-important customer attributes and details needed for insightful data analysis. The insights gathered can then be used by forward-thinking retail brands to help them create targeted marketing campaigns, personalised experiences and more.

In order to determine what these attributes are and to gather the right information, retailers must track their customer’s online journeys and buying habits, particularly through their e-commerce website.

Below, we’ll take a look at what these profiles entail, why they’re so beneficial to retail today’s brands and how you can take your business to the next level with 360° customer profiles.

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What is a 360° customer profile?

A 360° customer profile is a detailed view of an individual consumer. In other words, it’s a single unified customer profile, often where all their details are kept together in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

This profile can then be updated each time new information is gathered, and this becomes available to the relevant teams, such as sales and marketing. These profiles can be used to create more general buyer personas for their larger marketing efforts, as well as using these details to create more targeted campaigns and personalised experiences.

The contents of a customer 360° profile will differ depending on your industry, business practices and customer base. However, in most cases, these profiles will include some (if not all) of the following:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Location
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Digital footprint, such as email opens and website visits
  • Past transactions (in-store and online)
  • Customer support interactions
  • Social media activity such as likes and shares

Why should retail brands build customer profiles?

Gathering data and building a comprehensive profile of their customers is one of the biggest challenges that many retailers face. However, it’s worth the hard work if you want to stand out in one of the most forward-thinking but competitive industries out there. After all, the more data you have about a customer, the more likely you are to delight them and make their buyer journey not only more enjoyable, but most importantly, more relevant.

A 360° customer view also helps with personalisation, marketing, customer outreach and creating a seamless omnichannel experience. And as we said, consumers are more likely to purchase products from brands that offer great connected experiences, as well as a personalised one.

Finally, these 360° customer profiles can help with making sales forecasts and predictions for the future, both for the business as a whole and for individual customers. This is crucial for retailers, as understanding the latest customer insights and industry trends is more significant than having an immediate competitive advantage, as it allows for innovation further down the line.

As a result, retailers that make these customer profiles a priority are more likely to be able to offer the best CX, boost sales, increase profits and build a loyal customer base.

How can brands achieve a 360° customer profile?

Now we’ve established why having a 360° customer profile is a game-changer for retail brands, let’s look at exactly how this can be achieved. When creating a great customer experience, you can’t rely on guesswork, and the same applies to creating 360° customer profiles. This is particularly true with retail giants like Amazon, Sephora, Aldi and Adidas continuing to raise the bar with even more granular, innovative offerings.

Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer enough. The good news is, there are several ways you can move away from this approach to offer personalised experiences. These include:

1. Making the most of your online channels

You’re probably aware that your online channels can be a goldmine of customer data, but only when utilised correctly. So, in order to get a better understanding of your customers and to create 360° profiles, you should tap into:

  • Your email data, looking at who is engaging with your content and when
  • Web analytics, which will reveal how users navigate your website and their preferred content and pages
  • Social media can reveal who follows you, their demographics and how they engage with your content

Each of your marketing channels can give you a whole host of new insights that can be used to create their profiles and larger buyer personas.

2. Surveying your customers

As crazy as it might sound, you don’t just have to wade through a customer’s online habits and hope for the right insights - you can just ask them. Utilising surveys can help to fill in some of the blanks, as well as offering real customer insights on what they’d like to see from a retail brand.

Whats more, surveying your customers can be the perfect way to help you create strong customer profiles, and though you might think these are time-consuming and irritating for consumers, youd be wrong. A study from 2019 actually revealed that 89% of consumers want retailers to ask them for input.

3. Getting the right technology in place

In today’s digital world, there are many tools out there that can help make data collection and analysis much more efficient. By getting the right systems and platforms in place, for example, Sitecore’s Customer Data Platform or AI and machine learning tools, retail brands can deliver better marketing campaigns, personalisation and overall CX.

There are tools out there that allow businesses to collate all the information they’ve collected from different data points in order to create not just a 360° customer profile, but also a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for the consumer themselves. This is done through centralising customer data into one easy-to-use system, such as a CRM.

This is why getting the right technology and tools in place for data collection and analysis should be a key priority for retail brands this year.

4. Understanding consumers in-store behaviour

And finally, we’ve spoken about the importance of understanding how your customers behave online, but what about their in-store behaviour? With 41% of consumers still preferring to shop in-store rather than online, brick-and-mortar stores continue to be a significant part of the customer journey.

This means it’s vital that retailers use on-site customer data as well if they hope to create and enrich their 360° customer profiles. Though it might be trickier, there are several ways this data can be collected, including:

  • Through point of sales (POS) systems
  • Loyalty programs
  • Asking for email addresses for receipts (rather than printing them)
  • Running surveys on communal tablets
  • Offering free guest Wi-Fi
  • Adding touchscreen kiosks and self-checkouts

Only by collecting data from both online and in-store interactions can retailers create a full 360° customer view leading to a seamless brick-and-mortar to digital experience.

If you’d like to know more about how you can build a 360° view of your customers in your business, you can check out our comprehensive guide here.

Further reading

Sitecore

Sitecore is a global leader in digital experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands—including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Kimberly-Clark, and L’Oréal—have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue. 

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