eCommerce Solutions: A Single Customer View
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eCommerce marketers strive for a single view of their customer base that will agglomerate digital and physical customer activity, and drive a seamlessly personalized, predictive experience to the right customer, anywhere, and at any point in time.
It won’t be long until data from multiple channels come together and integrate with every marketing activity across the buyer journey and customer lifecycle. However, it’s not a common reality for most businesses today -- at least, not yet.
GetElastic defines a single customer view, or 360-degree view of the customer, as the “unification of all data collected about a customer’s intent, interactions and transactions with a brand or retailer across channels and touchpoints, whether the channels are purely digital -- across marketing channels -- or truly omnichannel”.
This has many advantages for both marketers and shoppers. Marketers can reach a target more frequently with a more contextual, accurate understanding of customer intent and behaviour, and the shopper enjoys a more relevant experience.
A recent report from Econsultancy examines what’s driving retailer demand for a single customer view, what challenges they face achieving it, and what other alternatives are out there. It highlights that the largest obstacle to a single customer view for many businesses is legacy systems which are hard to work with, challenging to eliminate, and are poorly understood by many organizations.
Interestingly, of the companies interviewed for the report, the closest to having a real-time view of its shoppers across data sources was Mothercare, a UK retailer serving mothers from expectancy through young childhood. Mothercare uses e-receipts and APIs to connect data feeds from physical store and digital systems, updating universal customer profile data within roughly 15 minutes from the first transaction.
Mothercare does a really great job of applying a single customer view with its customer club My Mothercare. Integrated with Adobe Campaign and the single customer view, its content marketing campaign uses more than 100 contextual triggers to deploy content-rich email from buyer’s guides, to how to videos and blog content, tailored specifically to the customer based on their point in the typical customer life cycle. 
Marrying physical and digital through e-receipts and its loyalty program allows Mothercare to gather more complete aggregate data, and send the right personalized messages at the best possible time.
Tackling Contextual Commerce
Context drives personalized experiences. Every business that wants to grow in this area needs to, at a minimum, integrate sources of contextual data with marketing tools, personalization engines, and eCommerce platforms. For example, using eCommerce APIs, leveraging integrated marketing cloud solutions, or a mix of both.
This backs contextual commerce to the degree that context can be gathered and applied to the customer experience.
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