Customer data as an asset - five things to consider

Retailers sit on an extremely valuable asset in the form of their customer data. This data allows retailers to create a comprehensive view of the customer – and to work with suppliers to optimise their merchandising and marketing activities. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for retailers to create an incremental revenue stream by commercialising their data.

However, suppliers are often bombarded with requests to purchase retail data, which means – in order to stand out – retailers need to put together a commercialisation programme that offers the supplier genuine value.

Data has power

In today’s world, data is an undeniable asset and maximising its value is critical to a retailer’s success. Let’s look at five key pillars for creating a successful commercialisation programme:

1. Strong retailer endorsement

It’s important that there is strong endorsement for the programme across all key stakeholders. Enlist senior leadership support for the programme and to act as advocates, setting clear expectations for suppliers to participate. Invite merchants and other key team members to participate in training activities and engage with suppliers to reinforce their support for the programme. This is not a “one off" event, it involves continued reinforcement of the importance of the customer across all interaction with suppliers.

2. Customer-centric approach

Build a framework for embedding customer insights into your category and joint business planning process, ensuring that you keep the customer at the heart of your decision making. Establish a consistent process for merchants to work closely with suppliers to set measurable objectives and KPIs for incorporating customer data and insights into their plans and recommendations. When retailers fully commit and embed a customer-centric approach, suppliers are able to fully engage and maximise the return on their customer data investment.

3. Close relationship with suppliers

Set an expectation with suppliers that customer data and insights should be an integral part of all joint business planning discussions - and that you will test and implement category recommendations that are based on valid customer and category insights. Establish annual supplier events involving senior leadership and merchandising teams. Celebrate successes, showcase best practices and share knowledge.

4. State-of-the-art technology

Ensure that your platform can integrate multiple data sources, while providing a consistent, single view of the customer for your internal and external users. Cutting edge technology provides fast, flexible, and intuitive tools that can handle massive data sets effectively. Futureproof your programme by ensuring that your data storage, processing and reporting capability can adapt and be customized as your needs evolve.

5. Measure performance

The ability to quantify the value for your supplier community is critical to the ongoing success and growth of the programme. Set mutually beneficial objectives and measure your supplier’s performance in both commercial and customer terms. Work collaboratively with your suppliers to ensure that they realize the benefit of positive performance.

Getting the commercialisation strategy right provides retailers a meaningful way to collaborate more effectively with their suppliers. Building one consistent view of the customer, substantiated by in-depth customer insights, gives retailers the power to develop a more shopper-centric strategy, make more effective business decisions, and sustainably grow top and bottom-line revenue.


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