Success in retail is driven by a simple formula: connect the right customers to the right products, at the right time, at the right price

Sounds straightforward, except for the fact that it is not always clear who your potential customers are, where to find them and what they are looking for. This is where having a single customer view can have a significant impact on success.

A single customer view identifies and connects data from all available sources to develop insight into a customer’s habits and needs. Through a single customer view, retailers can link duplicated customer records across their systems to achieve a golden customer record with accurate name, email address, phone number, and mailing address data related to the same customer. This customer record can then be enriched with additional data and lifestyle segmentation to build a deeper understanding of and broader insights into the customer’s lifestyle, behaviours and preferences.

How can retailers benefit from creating a single customer view?

Failure to piece together disparate data to create a single view of the customer can seriously impact a retailer’s competitive edge and ultimately its bottom line. By creating a single customer view, retailers gain a real understanding of exactly who their customers are, how they like to purchase as well as their individual needs and wants. This allows for more effective and efficient targeting and marketing, but most of all, it enables them to provide more useful, relevant, and enjoyable experiences for their customers.

What is a Single Customer View?

A Single Customer View (or SCV) is a single view of your customer including all their known contacts points and preferences. It identifies and connects data from all available sources to develop insight into a customer's habits and needs.

1. Consolidate data from mergers and acquisitions

When companies merge, so do their many software systems with disparate data sources. When O2 and Virgin media merged in 2021 they became one of the largest entertainment and telecommunications operators in the United Kingdom, with around 47 million customers[1]. The merger also meant that two sets of customer data that had to be integrated and assimilated into the new business to ensure all customers continued to receive the same consistent level of service. A formidable task!

The result of a merger or acquisition is often disparate data stored in multiple silos. The same customer could appear multiple times, under the same name, potentially with misspelt data points, an old or incorrectly formatted address, and multiple email addresses and phone numbers, across several databases within the group without any link being identified between each record. Using this outdated, incorrect, and inconsistent data can create a poor customer experience across all channels.

Being able to cleanse, consolidate, match, and segment this data to create a single customer view that can be shared across the entire business will guarantee that everyone within the newly formed business is working from the same clean, consistent, unified master database. This means you can set about building stronger relationships with your customers by delivering an excellent experience.

2. Understand buying behaviour and targeting profitable customers

A single customer view will reveal the behaviour and buying habits of a customer including information such as how much they’re spending across channels, what they are buying, how often they buy and the value of their individual purchases.

Harnessing this valuable information will allow retailers to identify customers that are the most profitable and then target their marketing efforts to this group. Not only is this a more efficient way to optimise marketing budgets, but it also supports a greater opportunity for cross- and up-selling. For example, the ability to view past purchases can allow recommendations to be made based on related items that might be of interest, or facilitate targeted deals or promotions on the customer’s favourite items. As well as increasing sales for the retailer, it provides more useful, relevant, and enjoyable experiences for their customers which promotes customer advocacy and loyalty.

3. More efficient targeting and marketing

Having a single customer view can help retailers streamline their business operations — making everything from marketing to inventory management to communications more efficient and cost-effective. Unproductive and irrelevant marketing tactics can be eliminated in favour of those that get better results. You can determine which channels customers prefer to engage in, the types of offers and products they are interested in, when to engage them, how frequently to engage with them, and much more.

Furthermore, by removing duplicate data, leaving one single record for every customer, the likelihood of expensive marketing mistakes, where the same communication is sent to the same contact multiple times, or worse, is sent to outdated contacts who no longer exist, therefore wasting valuable budget, is greatly reduced. Receiving the same communication several times, addressed to the wrong person, about an irrelevant product is a sure-fire way to frustrate customers and lose their trust.

Woman looking at her mobile phone on a train platform

4. Knowing your customer base to deliver exceptional service

The success or failure of a brand today comes down to customer experience. Customers’ expectations are increasing higher all the time, while brand loyalty is falling. A Single Customer View is particularly important when retailers engage with customers through multichannel marketing as customers expect those interactions to reflect a consistent understanding of their history and preferences.

A Single Customer View provides significant benefits to a brand’s ability to interact with individual customers. Data such as age, location, interests, purchases, history, and much more can be utilised to tailor marketing campaigns to suit each customer, based on their needs and preferences. Customers expect personalised, highly relevant content, and delivering against these expectations builds brand loyalty.

A Single Customer View gives you greater insight into your customers and helps you get to know them better. It empowers retailers to market more efficiently and effectively, but most of all it enables brands to provide more useful, relevant, and enjoyable experiences for their customers creating brand loyalty, better retention rates and brand advocacy.

5. Retain and reward customers via loyalty programmes

Brand loyalty has become more important, but more difficult to achieve, as consumers are inundated with choice and are more willing than ever to try new brands. Loyalty programmes are a way for retailers to try and retain customers long-term with either a free (Tesco Clubcard) or paid (Amazon Prime) loyalty membership. However, to build a customer loyalty programme requires significant customer knowledge about who your customer is, how to reach them and what they care about to effectively target them with the loyalty campaign.

This is where a 360-view of customers becomes essential. The ability to consolidate data into a single, accurate record enables companies to effectively plan their marketing efforts and ensure that that they are reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message.

An example of this is IKEA Australia with their IKEA Family B2C loyalty program, a key part of their customer experience strategy which aims to build loyalty and engagement by personalising communication with their millions of IKEA Family members in Australia. They used our data validation and data enrichment solutions to enrich their client intelligence to better understand and target their loyalty members with relevant promotions and products while also eradicating inaccurate and incomplete member data. Doing so helped increase spend per customer and achieve greater return on investment (ROI).

6. Knowing your customer

Central to the single customer view is the capture and maintenance of high-quality data, and the effective on-going management of that data. Our range of data validation tools ensure the data that goes into your CRM is accurate from the outset. We can help you to use both your own data and enrichment data to gain an enhanced level of customer insight to help you understand your customers and create even more value for them with our cross-channel classification system, Mosaic. Mosaic offers actionable consumer insight that is focused on the individual, creating an easy-to-understand segmentation that allocates individuals and households into detailed profiles, giving deeper insights on consumer lifestyles and behaviour to help you make more informed marketing decisions and ensuring that your customer communications and offers are always relevant, compelling, and highly valuable.

In relation to international markets, sourcing global socio-demographic information has previously been a challenge. Data was inconsistent and only provided a partial view of international locations and markets. Experian WorldView provides key geo-level demographic attributes for 250 by 250 metre grids which cover the globe. It provides geo-level information on: Age, Gender, Disposable income, Consumer expenditure and WorldView Segments. This in turn provides immediate access to geo-level insights to help you make effective global location planning decisions and run marketing campaigns across multiple countries.

Aperture Data Studio: Delivering a single supporter view

Experian’s powerful Identity Resolution Solution, a blend of technology, reference data and packaged IP, provides unrivalled levels of confidence, control and transparency over your data. Aperture Data Studio, our flagship self-serve data quality platform, is a complete solution for Single Supporter View.

Understanding the make-up of your customer base is pivotal for building opportunities for targeted marketing and improving operational strategy and tactics. Having an effective single customer view helps you to create a complete understanding of every one of your customers by integrating and consolidating all the data you hold about them in a single place, creating a rich view of your customers’ identities profiles and interactions.

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For more information on Experian's tools to build a single customer view, speak to one of our experts.

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[1] Meet the new power couple, Virgin Media

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