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October 9, 2017

Gone are the days of creating a campaign designed for the mass market segment. Technology has evolved marketing targeting to a segment of one. Retail businesses have embraced this methodology and while it is still gaining traction as innovators try new ideas, many have already seen some great successes.

Take for example, Stitch Fix, the first fashion retailer to blend the human element of personal styling with high-quality clothing and proprietary algorithms. Stitch Fix hires trendsetters and fashion experts to monitor the marketplace so the company always has the latest fashions in stock. A personal stylist selects items for you based on your profile that are shipped to your door. Keep what you like and send the rest back in a prepaid USPS envelope for an easy return/exchange process. The information you supply them,  your history with them and your feedback continually powers the suggestion engine to evolve with your tastes, needs, and budget in mind. Popularity has skyrocketed and the NPD group (market research firm) found Stitch Fix seated firmly in the Top 10 online apparel retailers last year.

Another example of a retailer using technology to deliver better customer experiences features a brick-and-mortar retailer, Macy’s, partnering with Shopkick, a location-based coupon app using Apple’s iBeacon to track customers within their store, inform shoppers about sales and send them product recommendations and discounts. This, in addition to their robust online shopping experience, is evidence of how important the connected customer experience is to remaining a relevant favorable choice in the consumer journey.

To deliver the connected customer experiences consumers expect, businesses need flexible and comprehensive, end-to-end data management and analytics capabilities on a single, agile platform. An agile data and analytics platform acts as a connecting agent amongst the consumer, the customer experience, and the organization’s data and technology being used to function optimally. A modular platform that can  easily grow with your business and  show results in a short time period with the abaility to prepare and manage big data from all sources is essential to success in the digital age. A powerful, single platform can, for example, integrate customer demographic data and marketing campaign data to help enterprises better understand how to optimize messaging or channel usage. It can integrate back office operations with customer experience data to identify potential opportunities for efficiency or service level quality improvement.

The world of banking has traditionally been viewed as a different kind of beast than a retail store. With the advent of so much technology, it is easier for small Fintech startups to identify a challenge in the banking experience, determine a better way to do it, and slowly erode market share piece by piece by offering the same (or better!) products and services to deliver a streamlined and improved experience. An example of this is online nonbank consumer mortgage lender: Loan Depot. It leverages technology and high-touch customer care to match borrowers with the credit they need to fuel their lives providing a wonderful comprehensive customer experience. Their investment in marketing platform technology demonstrates that they understand the needs and wants of retail loan officers and aim to please by offering best-in-breed products across all areas of marketing. Since launching in 2010, it is now the nation’s 5th largest retail mortgage originator.

Using a solution that provides end-to-end data management and analytics capabilities on a single platform can help businesses realize increased customer engagement and conversion rates, as well as improved brand perception and customer experiences. The true measure of a great platform is one that is open and modular and can be tailored to meet your specific business needs. Also important is an execution team willing and able to work with what you have to produce quantifiable results, and advise on suitable next step alternatives to help your business grow and mature. Investing in the right platform goes beyond the scope of technology to include business acumen and industry expertise to help you maximize your return on investment. A company able to get you started quickly and invest time helping you determine a sustainable growth path is ideal in helping you get the most from your new technology.

Suzanne is a Product Consultant for Customer Intelligence & Insights at TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group. She has 15 years of experience consulting on performance, management, and technology with several companies across the main industry verticals (finance, healthcare, telco, retail, travel / transportation, hospitality / entertainment) and enjoys helping clients realize quantifiable ROI as a result of her projects. With the digital disruption shaking all industries, she sees great opportunities for technology investment to yield solid ROIs while improving both the customer and employee experiences and optimizing operations. Prior to joining TCS Suzanne worked for customer analytics software companies, a performance management consulting group, in executive management at two small businesses, and a nonprofit. She has her Master's Degree from Northwestern University where her studies focused on Integrated Marketing Communications & Business, and undergraduate degrees from University of Dayton in Marketing, Management, International Business, and German.


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