Single Customer View Topic Guide
Posted: April 12, 2016Read Time: 15 minutes

A Guide to the Single Customer View in Ecommerce

Introduction

As marketers, we’re constantly told that we should make the way we communicate with customers and prospects more personal, more timely, and more relevant.

However, being able to market to each customer in a personalised way requires us to have a detailed understanding of who they are and how they interact with our brand: what’s known as a single customer view.

This guide to the single customer view in ecommerce will cover:

  1. The definition of a single customer view
  2. The benefits of having a single customer view
  3. How to gain a single customer view in your online store

Single customer view: a definition

When customer data is incomplete or held in many different places, it can be misleading and result in poor marketing decisions being made.

A single customer view (sometimes known as a ‘360’ or ‘unified’ customer view) means bringing together all the data that you have about a customer – from demographic details to their interactions with your site to their purchase history and more – and consolidating it into a single record.

By collecting and consolidating customer data from a number of different touch points in one place, ecommerce marketers have the accurate insights needed to create powerful, relevant marketing campaigns that maximise each customer’s lifetime value.

This data can include:

Demographic data

Personal data collected from each customer.

Examples: gender, location, age, contact preferences

Source: on-site forms, third parties, surveys, in-store data collection.

Browsing behaviour data

Data relating to the way an individual interacts with your store.

Examples: categories and products browsed, products added to basket, products abandoned

Source: cookie tracking

Marketing interaction data

Data relating to the way an individual interacts with your marketing messages.

Examples: email opens and clicks, social ad clicks

Source: email service provider, third party advertising platform

Device data

Data relating to the devices that an individual uses to browse and interact with your store.

Examples: mobile/desktop/tablet

Source: cookie tracking

The benefits of having a single customer view

Having a single view of each customer can be seen as a powerful means of achieving many marketing ends:

Data you can do something with

Many online retailers’ data is heavily siloed and difficult to analyse and act upon. Bringing it all together and merging it into a single record for each customer means that it can be used to inform and power effective marketing campaigns.

Lifecycle marketing

Having a rich profile for each contact in your database enables you to pinpoint where they are in the customer journey, and extend their customer lifetime value by targeting them with relevant messages at the right time.

Read More: A Guide to Customer Lifecycle Marketing in Ecommerce

Identify and retain your best customers

Having a full view of your customer enables you to pinpoint who your best customers are and create strategies to keep them active.

Accurate taste profiling and predictive marketing

Building a detailed profile of a customer and their preferences helps you to accurately predict the products that they are most interested in, and develop strategies for promoting these products to them at the right time.

Better customer insight for more informed marketing decisions

With a single view of your customers you can better understand their journeys across different channels and devices, and use this to inform your marketing strategies.

How to achieve a single customer view

In simple terms, gaining a single customer view involves three main stages:

Step one: collecting data from each of your sources

Connecting to each data source and importing the relevant data.

Step two: cleaning and consolidating all of your data

Merging duplicates and matching up different data types to create a single customer view.

Step three: making your data actionable

Getting your data into a usable format where it can be easily sorted, analysed and segmented.

While this may seem straightforward, in real terms there are a number of challenges associated with creating a unified customer profile, which an experienced third party (like Ometria) can help you overcome. These include:

    • Merging and deduping records: consolidating customer records from different sources, particularly if they are partial or out of date.
    • Updating data in realtime: in the fast paced world of online retail, data can fast become dated.

Ensuring that it remains up-to-date is incredibly important for effective marketing.

  • Cross-device matching: identifying the same user whether they’re browsing on desktop or on mobile using cookies can be challenging.
  • Back-matching records: being able to recognise if someone someone if a key identifier changes e.g. if they change address, change surname or have more than one email address.

Get a Single Customer View with Ometria

Ometria is a marketing platform for online retailers that empowers them to use data to send customers the right marketing messages at the right time to maximise revenue.

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