One View of the Shopper

Linking and Syncing….shopper databases must converse!!

Many retailers are making great strides in loyalty by using the myriad of personalization tools and techniques that technology provides.  But sometimes these efforts can also expose flaws in the retailer’s ability to really know who the customer is and what they really want.

A great example of this was a recent email I received from a retailer, thanking me for my enduring loyalty and shopper patronage.  The email contained a form letter from the CEO of the company, personalized by inserting my name at the head of the email.  Nothing really special there, but still a nice effort.  The message was also well done, inviting me to a special VIP shopper event…just for us loyal shoppers.

Just one problem.  I had not shopped at this retailer in over a year, having moved from the area.  Further, it would be hard for me to believe, even in my peak shopping mode that I would ever qualify for being a VIP.  With all of that said, I do not fault the retailer for erring on the side of rewarding me, given I used to shop there and who knows, perhaps they were trying to revive the relationship or to incentivize me to become a better shopper.  But a  more likely scenario is that they used their email database to identify their shoppers, instead of the shopping database, which would have indicated my status and departure. 

This is just one example of miscues that can emerge when you are collecting contact information on shoppers while not have a system and processes in place to link that shopper contact back to a single database that provides a holistic view of the shopper…no matter if the contact was on Facebook, Twitter, email, at a kiosk in-store, or on the retailer’s website.  While this sounds logical and intuitive, it is not necessarily an easy thing to do.

It begins with design a database enterprise system that “Links and syncs” customer transactions back to single data repository.  In the fast pace world of supermarketing, where a shopper may have two or three contacts with their retailer in a week, the syncing and update process must be near real time.  This is especially true if there is a continuity or a points program in play that crosses multiple customer touch points.


The adjacent slide was created by my friends at MyWebGrocer, (who understand this need for integration very well).  It  depicts some of the more popular new customer interactions that represent opportunities to interact holistically and intelligently with the customer, or not.  It also illustrates the potential complexity of a customer relationship.

 Linking and Syncing……it’s worth the effort!

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