It's time for a test, specifically a commerce exam focused on your greatest asset, the customer.

Here is some background...

Customer X is a longtime customer who plans to maintain his loyalty but has some reasonable demands that must be met for him to stay loyal to your company.

He wants your business to get to know him better.

Now with that as background, can you answer the following questions?

  1. Do you know where Customer X lives (what region and city)?
  2. Is he a satisfied client, a raving fan, or likely to switch to a competitor when the opportunity presents itself? How influential is he and will his actions have an amplified impact on other customers?
  3. Does he shop on his smartphone or prefer to research items on his mobile device and close the deal in the store? If the latter, which store does he frequent and when?
  4. Do you have a single view into what products he has bought, those which he has browsed for, and the ability to then use this data to determine what is he likely to buy in the future? If yes, can you present him with personalized deals at the right time and place?
  5. What if he abandoned the cart? Do you know why and can you re-engage him to finish the transaction?

The brand-customer relationship has changed from a one-way conversation to a two-way street, with shoppers revealing personal details at a depth we have never seen before. The onus is now on brands to respond, but the response cannot be generic. Brands need to turn this valuable data into customized experiences and services consistent, occurring at the exact right time and place.

Though it's likely that many will view this as a challenge, it really presents a huge opportunity to "wow" the customer like never before.

However, to succeed, marketers will need all the right elements in place to get data-driven insights that are customer-centric and unique from one individual to the next.

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image of Deepak Advani

Deepak Advani is general manager of IBM Commerce, a business unit focused on enabling business leaders to use data, analytics, and cloud to build deeper, more valuable engagements with their customers, partners and suppliers.

LinkedIn: Deepak Advani  

Twitter: @deepakadvani