2022 is already shaping up to be a fast-paced, unpredictable year for customer data professionals. The customer data industry aims to provide companies with greater degrees of certainty and efficiency by drawing insights from as many sources of information as possible. But non-stop changes impacting everything from the supply chain to mergers and acquisitions have made it harder than ever for brands, retailers, and other customer-centric organizations to get a firm grip on their business strategies.
While 2022 is expected to be as erratic as the past two years, customer data professionals can take comfort in the fact that preparation and research will make it easier to weather the storm. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends shaping the world of customer-centricity and how organizations can thrive in the throes of chaos:
Evolving omnichannel strategies and staffing challenges
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, brands were forced to enhance the quality of their online sales. In 2021, the revival of in-store shopping required organizations to find balance and optimization in a truly omnichannel approach. As we enter 2022, customer profiles need to accurately unite offline and online data to get a fuller picture of each shopper. In some cases, brands may find that their online shoppers behave differently when they enter a brick-and-mortar location, and they’ll need to adjust marketing and assortment decisions accordingly. And with the Omicron variant wreaking havoc on staffing, customer data will make it easier for leaders to determine which higher-traffic stores to support and which can be closed temporarily in favor of online approaches.
Focusing on customer lifetime value and retention will provide brands with a strong foundation throughout unsteady stages.
The supply chain’s new normal
One of the most powerful images of 2021 were the legions of container ships moored off the coast of California, a symptom of supply chain bottlenecks throughout the world. While these pandemic-induced challenges may get sorted out in the coming year, many industry analysts are predicting continued disruption due to the effects of climate change. Sudden supply chain problems may become the new normal for brands moving forward. Customer data can help organizations to triage their operations during periods of disruption, making it easier to detect potential quality issues and take proactive steps to address them. Perhaps most importantly, customer data allows organizations to identify their highest-value customers and fine-tune operations to keep them happy. Focusing on customer lifetime value and retention will provide brands with a strong foundation throughout unsteady stages.
Deft moves in rough waters
If the theme of 2022 is unpredictability, having a strong data foundation will make it easier for companies to pivot quickly when the ground beneath them shifts. The right customer data tools will make it possible for companies to choose which stores to direct resources to as traffic picks back up, identify changes in churn to more accurately predict financials, and even adjust hiring strategies in response to changing customer flows. At a minimum, companies should consider investing in a CDP that will allow them to create a holistic view of their customer. Beyond that, data visualization platforms can help to make insights available across the enterprise and ensure that customer data flows downstream to customer service and marketing teams. It may not always be possible to predict where something is going to break, but an increased commitment to customer data will ensure that organizations can adapt in the moment as shifts continue to occur.
Mergers and other financial moves
The world of finance moved at breakneck speed in 2021, with massive funding rounds, SPAC acquisitions, and mergers announced on a seemingly daily basis. For portfolio companies and post-merger organizations, customer data will play a major role in supporting strong performance. Sharing customer data between brands and organizations can provide each team with new tools for growth while simultaneously lowering the costs of acquisition and retention.
We’ll continue to check in on these themes throughout 2022, offering advice you can use from CDPa Founders, and highlighting organizations that have successfully navigated the changing currents.