Data Integration For Understanding Customer
Thoughts on integrating data across retail enterprises
Data integration across a retail enterprise is difficult enough, but couple that in a franchise organization where each franchise group has their own disparate customer database, and data integration, especially to provide a 360-degree view of the customer, is absolutely daunting. Customer Name, or Customer Number, is not a unique field when spread throughout a retail enterprise, especially a franchise organization. Yet without a consolidation process, it would be near impossible to provide this 360-degree view. In order to bridge the gap, common fields of information must be leveraged. Typically the most common piece of information used to be a customer’s phone number, although more often that information is now a customer’s e-mail address. Applications can be implemented to allow a customer to link together multiple phone numbers or multiple e-mail addresses. Once linked, a more complete view of the customer can be obtained and/or presented. I have heard of some companies linking together credit card information, but caution needs to be exercised with that sensitive information. With a foundation to link a customer’s accounts together, applications can be modified to leverage this central linkage, which typically means tying together in-store POS history with on-line web history.