Businesses want to get personal with their customers to better understand their intentions, behaviors and desires, in order to create trust, build loyalty, and of course, drive revenues. It’s also something customers are coming to expect in an internet-driven economy. Today’s consumers are looking for intuitive shopping venues, compelling product information, personal recommendations based on their preferences, seamless transactions and a consistent experience, regardless of the channel they’re using.
For retailers, manufacturers and distributors, the key to understanding their customers and building a relationship with them is in their data, specifically master data. Reinvented models of multi-domain master data management (MDM), built on new technologies and insights, can help retailers, manufacturers and distributors combine data from across the spectrum, including product, customer, location and supply data, to improve the customer experience and increase sales, while also reducing costs. Multi-domain MDM can also help these organizations better understand not only the customer, but also the marketplace, allowing them to anticipate trends and respond more quickly to shifts in customer interest.
How data is impacting the way goods are made, moved and sold
The new economy has blurred the lines between production, supply, sale and other traditionally separate elements of consumer sales.
Retailers. Retailers, for example, need both master data and operational data in order to provide a unified, holistic experience. For instance, users may interact with the same product using a marketplace or a wholesaler’s website. The journey to that product may take different routes, but the same information is still needed as consistency in the way the product is presented is crucial. Combining these two data sources by leveraging advanced technologies provides a more unified experience and increases the product’s competitive advantage.
Take the use of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), which can help create a contextualized, empathic customer experience. AI’s role in the process is flexible, depending on the use cases or business outcomes being sought, but at a high-level the technology can help provide new insights into data on what customers are buying, why they’re buying and what channels they’re using, answering questions such as: What drives a consumer to shop? What drives a sale? What types of products are customers willing to pay more for?
AI analytics, along with other technologies like 3D virtual reality (VR), can also draw on data to help customers experience a product, putting it in context and telling a story they can relate to. MDM and product information management (PIM) combined with VR can, for example, allow retailers to offer customers highly detailed 3D tours of stores—tailored even to individual stores—and products down to the atomic level of product data, attributes and metadata. It can incorporate dynamic modeling of customer behavior to make the experience even richer. It’s an approach that can build brand loyalty and trust with the customer.
Manufacturers. Manufacturers are also being enabled by data. Today, they’re much like retailers in their direct-to-customer approach. They take the same dynamic approach to understanding their customers and combine operational data with product and consumer data to improve the customer experience and boost their revenues. Where manufacturers really thrive is in understanding what’s in demand. This is crucial for manufacturers. By driving these insights, they can feed that knowledge back to their development lifecycle. This means, changing products in real-time if needed so that there’s an increased chance of making a sale.
Distributors. Distributors, the third leg of the equation, are also benefiting from improved data management. Mainly, data is helping these organizations make what’s otherwise extremely complicated much easier to understand. With real-time insights into package sizes, load sizes, product movements and consumption, distributors can be sure they’re in the right place and the right time to maximize operations. With MDM, brands can work more efficiently and effectively leveraging location and product data to stock supplies.
Layering in, this data can help companies determine if something isn’t selling, so that can adapt accordingly. These distributors are key to making these decisions, as they’re closer to the suppliers, so can glean insights from data to excel operations within this area.
MDM: Crucial at every step
Retailers, manufacturers and distributors all want to get competitively better, and with operations today more intertwined than ever, more companies are finding that sharing data is the key to unlocking this success. By employing multi-domain MDM, these organizations can work together more effectively to improve sales overall.
When looking at the way goods are made, moved and sold, it’s a high-stakes race to capture consumer interest and deliver to customer’s high expectations. With multi-domain MDM, retailers, manufacturers and distributors are keeping pace with the market and beating out competitors who have yet to figure it out.