Big Fast Data

As technology becomes more embedded in our daily lives, it’s impacting us in ways that really stretch the imagination. Seemingly disparate elements, like technology and well-being, are combined into solutions like the best-selling Fitbit. This is just the beginning. There’s a growing connection between big data and our everyday life — none more so than in retail customer experience where retailers are pushing technology into every quarter of customer service, advice, assist and rewards.


And if you think about it, retail customers provide a lot of fodder for big data. They are enrolled in store loyalty programs. They have established routines evidenced through their buying patterns. They leave online feedback about their store experiences. They are brand ambassadors. In turn, these customers — if approached in the right manner, using the right tools — can benefit from the power of big data analysis. When you add people — actual paying customers — into the mix, you begin to see how we can relate big data to Customer Experience Management (CEM). CEM is really about a system that allows you to design and react to customer interactions so you can meet or exceed their expectations and increase their satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.


Real-time customer engagement is becoming a focal point for today’s retailers, who are facing intense competition, high rates of churn, an emphasis on per-customer revenue potential and the rise of customer digitization. We’re seeing a significant push toward analysis of data, both historical and real-time, allowing us to first understand customer preferences and to then put their current situation in context. Ultimately, big data combined with CEM maximizes customer value and satisfaction through increased relevancy and timeliness of interactions, across any channel. To maintain a high level of customer engagement, retailers need an integrated, comprehensive platform for the entire customer engagement infrastructure.


That’s where Software AG’s CEM Solution Accelerator comes in. It delivers actionable, information by capturing customer activity across channels to engage each individual at the right time, through the right channel with a relevant interaction. For retailers, the solution provides the capability to implement a digital marketing strategy by coupling customer-defined preferences and past transactions (e.g., historical data) with current information such as location, weather, traffic and social media (e.g., real-time big data) to push relevant offers, create instant promotions and build marketing campaigns. Using a set of customizable smart tools, the CEM Solution Accelerator allows retailers to create, manage and execute smarter campaigns through any channel. It helps CMOs gain actionable insights from different, disparate data sources both historically and in real time, enabling them to make more intelligent use of their data.


Let’s get specific for a minute and talk about a common problem faced by many retailers. As you probably know, showrooming — i.e., visiting stores to evaluate products before buying cheaper online — poses a credible threat to the industry. Savvy retailers are using this trend to their advantage, by understanding and responding to it, in order to protect their customer base and also as a growth strategy that leverages showrooming to their benefit. Many have implemented CEM solutions that use GPS, WiFi and iBeacons. Of course, there are many tools with different purposes, but a good CEM solution handles all of them. Let’s look at how this would work in a real-life situation. Your customer — let’s call her Anne — is part of your store’s loyalty program. She’s downloaded your app on her smartphone. Once Anne is in the store, she opens up the app and scans a QR code, which gives her product details, comparative pricing, reviews, video and a tailored price just for Anne through a coupon — all completely targeted to her, based on historical and immediate, real-time data. This is a win-win scenario. The retailer gets detailed customer information, generates a heat map and can customize signage (with the added advantage of bringing online shopping to real brick-and-mortar stores) while the customer gets transparency on pricing, collaborative reviews and customer-specific pricing. No more showrooming!


E-commerce really gave traditional (“bricks and mortar”) retailers a run for their money. With an offering like the CEM Solution Accelerator, the situation has evolved. Now, traditional retailers can leverage their physical stores and the location of their customers in order to send contextually relevant alerts and offers to their customers’ mobile devices. This enables marketers to move beyond mass promotion tactics and into a world where it appears as though they're delivering a personalized advertisement for each individual. This is the true power of Customer Experience Management.


Underneath all this, of course, is Software AG’s commitment to Intelligent Business Operations (IBO), which allows businesses to make informed decisions at speed, at scale and with confidence. Implementing IBO allows a company to combine real-time data with historical measures into a single view, provides context as the basis for intelligent action and automates processes to take an intelligent “best next step.” This takes preparation and the ability to make real-time decisions. The evolving relationship between technology and people inevitably means that personalization will become a significant trend — particularly related to retail and big data — and CEM will be the tool that allows us to tap this potentially enormous market.


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