Master Your Data to Adapt to a New Retail Environment

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By Published On: August 4, 20210 Comments

Retail has never looked like this before. The line between online and in-store has become blurred, and as such, the need for a change in your customer engagement strategy is paramount. So how can you take advantage of this transformation and adapt to a new retail environment? The short answer: Data.

It’s not just the change in channels that has come out of the pandemic, it’s a paradigm shift in customer behaviour. In the span of 18 months, consumers’ purchasing patterns, personalisation preferences, and expectations for excellent shopping experiences have all changed. To successfully acquire, grow, and retain customers in this new retail environment, your approach to customer engagement needs to change as well.

In the digital age, leading retailers are already using their data for almost everything—but the past 18 months have made data-led practices a must-have for every business. If you’re going to succeed amidst these revolutionary shifts in the retail market, you need to establish the right relationship with your customers, and data is an effective tool to reach this goal. 

However, the pandemic disrupted brand loyalty, making the customer data you have from 2019 or early 2020 inviable. Additionally, recent changes to the consumer privacy landscape have led to the depreciation of third-party data, rendering traditional approaches to digital engagement obsolete.

All this means that now is the perfect time to collect new, first-party data to refresh your understanding of who your customers are and how to engage them. By shifting your approach to data collection and data management, you can continuously monitor and improve your personalisation and engagement strategy. These data-led strategies will help you successfully navigate any major market shift, even one as impactful as the pandemic. If you’re too slow to adapt, you may get left behind. 

So how do you get started? By creating a unified, comprehensive database for every customer, also known as a “single customer view.” With access to this database, marketers and sales associates can stay informed about every omnichannel customer interaction—from bricks to clicks. This insight can help your team improve every aspect of the customer experience, proactively engage with customers to encourage higher-value sales, and develop lasting customer relationships.

These data-informed strategies apply to every facet of the retail industry. From marketing to e-commerce and sales teams, applying a data-led strategy enables a deep understanding of who your best customers are and how they prefer to engage with your brand. This, in turn, aligns the whole business in providing a relevant, high-quality customer experience at every touchpoint, therefore increasing shopper satisfaction rates, improving retention and loyalty, and driving incremental sales growth.

While the shift from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce was already occurring, the pandemic accelerated this shift tenfold. Maintaining a cohesive customer experience across both of these sales channels is essential to success. Along with using combined customer data from both channels to inform engagement, your internal teams should be organised around the customer as well.

Think: Email, wholesale, direct, service, e-commerce, et al. 

By giving every team access to the complete data they need to become customer-centric, you can operate in smoother, more effective ways across every sales channel. This transformation closes the gaps that you might’ve had in a more fragmented business model, in which retail systems didn’t speak to each other and customer insight was confined to a channel-by-channel basis.

Every team needs access to comprehensive and connected customer insight tools such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) that can help them evaluate the customer journey and discover how best to engage customers in the new retail environment.


You can no longer provide frictionless, differentiated customer experiences by operating in separate teams, with channel-based data and systems that don’t easily communicate. Success in today’s market depends on unified data, omnichannel customer experiences, and customer-centric business operations. Shoppers have evolved and adapted to the future of retail, so it’s time for businesses to do the same—and the best place to start is by mastering your customer data. 

Access’s comprehensive guide “How to Prepare for Retail’s Future: The Complete 2022 Guide” for a deep dive into recent trends and transformations in the retail industry, tips for adapting, and an overview of essential tools to provide exceptional customer experiences. Find out more HERE

About the Author: Ally Feiam

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