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Most Retailers Don't Have Individual Customer Data

15 Jan, 2002 By: Hive News

A survey of retailers indicates that 45 percent do not have a data warehouse and cannot identify their most valuable customers. Of those retailers, 60 percent would like to have the capability, according to an an e-mail poll of registered attendees of the National Retail Federation Show in New York.

The poll, which software vendor Blue Martini fielded, focused on retailer's ability to identify customers at the point of sale, access information about those customers in real time and act on that information to drive additional sales.

Results show a small majority of retailers are gathering data on individual customers, but only 41 percent are able to identify their most profitable customers and use that data for personalized promotions.

Additionally, 41 percent of responding retailers have adopted technology to enable them to collect, aggregate and analyze transaction data in a data warehouse. This group can identify its most valuable customers and is leveraging that information through retail customer relationship management (CRM) activities such as direct mail, e-mail campaigns, clienteling, in-store promotions, online promotions and loyalty programs.

"Over the past decade, most retailers have spent the bulk of their IT budgets on supply-chain optimization and merchandizing systems -- basically, SKU and inventory management solutions designed to support the buy-side processes," said Monte Zweben, of Blue Martini chairman and CEO. ``As we move into 2002 retailers are shifting their focus to providing the sales associates at the point of sale with greater knowledge about their customers."

Although the majority of retailers do not have retail CRM software, the poll found 71 percent of data savvy retailers leverage customer data to engage in retail CRM activities designed to increase sales in the store. Most popular amongst these initiatives are direct mail campaigns and loyalty programs, with one out of every two retailers (50 percent) engaging in those activities. Two out of five retailers (40 percent) engage in e-mail campaigns, and three of 10 (30 percent) retailers engage in clienteling. While most retailers have Web sites, the poll showed that only one in 10 (10 percent) engage in online promotions based individual customer data.

All of the 1,300 respondents reported plans to invest in retail CRM activities in 2002. When asked which retail CRM activities respondents plan to invest in 2002, direct mail was the most popular, with 68 percent of respondents ranking it a high priority. Also ranked as high priorities were email campaigns (55 percent), loyalty programs (50 percent), online promotions (32 percent), and clienteling and in-store promotions (23 percent).

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