Tailoring a CDP for your business
Retail Customer Data Platform
What is a retail customer data platform?
Customer experience often refers to the overall quality of customer interactions with a particular brand, as well as the products and services it offers. In general, a satisfying customer experience can bring about substantial benefits, such as increased consumers, improved sales, and brand loyalty success.
More and more retailers may strive to offer customers more meaningful online shopping experiences; as such, they may want to invest in tools that can help them keep track of their successes and areas in need of improvement. Companies use different digital experiences to interact with their customers, such as through social media platforms, email marketing, mobile applications, and many other digital communication platforms.
Nowadays, customers have countless digital channels and devices right at their fingertips, and their purchase journeys no longer follow a single path. When customers have fragmented digital experiences, this could negatively impact their perceived value of your brand and could possibly send them to your competitors. Coordinating customers’ diverse digital experiences can be a challenge, but it is an essential component to build brand affinity and loyalty.
To provide customers with seamless digital experiences, retailers should consider investing in a highly polished retail customer data platform. As you seek out the best customer data platform, the first question to ask would be, “What is a customer data platform?”
A customer data platform (CDP) is a software tool that allows companies to unify customer data from various sources and provide reliable data accessible to all related departments in their organization. A good retail CDP can help retailers better manage their customer interactions and improve customer experience by supporting all customer touchpoints.
To create a holistic customer profile, a CDP gathers and connects customer data from multiple sources. These include emails, apps, social media and the web. The data files are cleaned up by erasing duplicates for accurate results. After which, customer data is processed and integrated to generate persistent, unified customer profiles. Customer data is activated by deploying it to other engagement tools for mobile messaging, email and social media campaigns, and other sales and advertising platforms.
Top customer data platforms
It is important to remember that a CDP is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many top customer data platforms to choose from, and each has its own different features, functionalities, and unique selling points. For example, some may look to customer data platform magic quadrant.
If your goal is to be more data-driven, it would be helpful to compare different CDPs and create a shortlist of CDP vendors before deciding on which one meets your business needs the most.
Some of the best CDP vendors to consider include SAP Customer Data Platform, Salesforce Customer Data Platform, Microsoft Customer Data Platform, Adobe Customer Data Platform, and Lexer Customer Data Platform.
While some CDP vendors may provide easy integration with existing systems and clear customer segmentation, their interface could be difficult to navigate. Others might offer real-time analytics and could prove to be useful for data marketing and reporting, but might have complex web layers and aggregates.
As the only CDP that specializes in retail data analytics, a CDP can assist companies in increasing sales growth through enhanced customer engagement. A CDP could also clean and combine data sets and transform client data into a single customer view. Its user-friendly tools can assist retail, marketing, and customer service teams draw valuable data insights. Lexer can also provide users with continued technical and strategic support.
Before selecting a CDP, retailers might first establish their goals and objectives and identify the business impact that is most important to them. Some companies might put a premium on data access, while others look for a CDP that would allow them to better govern their data sets. There are also companies in search of a CDP that would enable them to enhance their customer profiles to gain better business insights. Others might prefer to use a CDP to maximize their return on investment on advertising campaigns.
CDP use should be adapted depending on a company’s use cases and requirements. These may involve creating targeted customer experiences, or coming up with fresh personalization tactics. Use cases and requirements could also include activating customer data across multiple channels in real time to generate conversions, or analyzing customer journeys throughout the sales funnel.
Aside from getting a personalized experience, consumers might also expect their brand interactions to be a connected, compelling experience. Choosing the right CDP platform will allow companies to provide customers a seamless digital experience.
Whether structured or unstructured, internal or external, customer data from various types and sources can be consolidated using CDP platforms. A CDP platform can provide businesses with a more comprehensive view of their customer profiles. This will enable companies to better understand customer behavior and preferences and perform optimizations in real time.
Because CDPs can address a wide range of issues across an organization, it is necessary to identify your business challenges, goals and objectives, and understand your primary CDP use cases and requirements. Doing so will enable you to map out an ideal CDP implementation and pick the best CDP platform that could provide the right foundation for your company’s needs.
When comparing customer data platform vendors, enterprises should thoroughly assess each potential vendor that can assist them in managing a smooth CDP implementation. Companies should align their specific goals and objectives with the CDP vendor’s ability to fulfill their business requirements.
It is also important to consider a vendor’s existing clientele, relevant industry expertise, and whether or not a vendor can provide assistance, consulting, or other support services.
In terms of tech capabilities, a good CDP platform should easily integrate with a variety of platforms and include out-of-the-box analytics with customer intelligence capabilities. A CDP’s activation, automation, and measurement tools should be easy to navigate even by non-technical users. Lastly, a CDP should have security capabilities to help safeguard customer data pipelines and should conform to security compliance standards.
Customer data platforms examples
Companies may refer to various customer data platform examples to better understand how a CDP platform works. For instance, when responding to customer support requests, a customer service representative can easily retrieve single view customer profiles to know about customers’ recent purchases and resolve issues promptly, rather than asking customers to recount their purchase history, which can be time-consuming and ineffective.
Online retailers could use a CDP to better manage and organize the data accumulated throughout a customer’s purchase journey. By automating data integration and combining important data from other systems, a CDP can help marketers understand which customer experiences were relevant and resulted in conversions.
Customer data platform software
Since CDPs differ in terms of characteristics and capabilities, enterprises should first understand customer data platform architecture before investing in a customer data platform software according to their business scope and scale. A good CDP should be scalable and can adjust to the growing company data volume.
Building a customer data platform can help companies improve real-time customer engagement and provide a more personalized customer experience. Choosing to build your own CDP rather than work with a CDP vendor will allow you to create a highly customized system, establish connections that are critical to your business, and ensure that your CDP is compatible with your existing architecture. Another advantage of building your own CDP is that you have complete control over adding and modifying features, as well as updating the platform.
Despite the numerous benefits, there are also potential drawbacks to building your own CDP. Developing a consumer data platform is a long-term project, and organizational factors such as budget constraints and staff turnover can further prolong the process. Building a CDP is also a complex project that requires collaboration across several departments within your organization, as well as coordination with external partners to develop application programming interface links.
Regular CDP maintenance and integration builds done in-house can also deplete resources, raise CDP costs, and reduce team productivity. Should you decide to build your own CDP, you must ensure that your CDP has the necessary data processing scalability as your customer base expands.
Types of customer data platforms
CDP vendors offer different types of customer data platforms depending on business needs. Working with customer data platform companies can speed up the process of integrating customer data and generating customer insights. Partnering with a CDP vendor can also be more cost-effective, as CDP vendors can take charge of compliance and compatibility issues. Integrated CDPs can help simplify the process of altering or upgrading data pipelines owing to safe data collection and comprehensive integration systems that CDP companies can provide. Moreover, even non-technical team members can develop high-quality audience segments using a CDPs with user-friendly data quality and segmentation tools.
Due to their overlapping functions, a CDP could easily get confused with a CRM, or customer relationship management system. While both CDP and CRM can collect customer data, CRM is primarily focused on maintaining customer connections in order to assist sales, while a CDP is designed to manage customer data and can support the whole customer experience cycle.
Another difference between customer data platform vs CRM is that CRM is designed for customer-facing professionals such as salespeople and customer support representatives, whereas a CDP is designed for non-consumer-facing departments such as marketing, engineering, and product development. CRM data is often collected manually, whereas CDP data is generated automatically via mobile devices, software programs, and the internet.