As technology expands rapidly to manage customer experience, a subtle shift is under way in who gathers and uses loyalty and other data to manage the customer relationship.
No one needs to remind us how quickly the nature of shopping and customer experience is changing. We see signs of it everywhere and need look no further than the startups, pattern of acquisitions and alignment of technologies reported in the tech press every day.
The big question
There’s a second shift happening that might not be quite as apparent as those news reports. It involves manufacturers creating ‘direct to consumer’ capabilities that open the door to the question, “Just who owns the customer?”
This is being driven partly by infrastructure spend by the biggest product companies that serve fashion, sports and fitness, grocery and every other major category. Technology now allows for personalized, one-to-one marketing relationships from the biggest manufacturers down to the individual consumer.
This side of e-commerce isn’t about the money, necessarily – that will remain mostly in the hands of the front-end of retail. It is more about additional touch points that build trust, relationships and communication that complement retailer activities.
Retailers playing catch up
This leaves the retailers needing to follow through on the brand-building investment of their suppliers. Many retailers are still slow off the blocks when it comes to customer-facing technology. That will need to change quickly to keep pace with rising customer expectations of convenient, in-the-moment offers and loyalty rewards.
Just who owns the customer will be decided based on who has the best system to manage the new model and set and meet those expectations.
This post first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog.