Becoming customer-first using data and analytics

14 Feb 2019

Following an informative breakfast for financial services organisations, featured guest David Ciancio, dunnhumby’s Head of Retail, talks though some quick and simple things retailers can do in stores to start the process to have Customer-First approach to business.

As the demands of modern consumers continue to surge, Australian retailers are under increasing pressure to be more customer-centric and provide better shopping experiences.

Retailers need to look at their data and make customer-first decisions in all areas of their business, as highlighted by the dunnhumby 2018 Retailer Preference Index (RPI). This means revisiting old notions of rewards and increasing service offerings to enhance the shopping experience.

Retailers who understand how to properly capture data-driven insights and form actionable plans that put their customers first will be rewarded with long-term, loyal behaviour that generates positive financial gains.

Adopting a Customer-First approach to business is not without complexity however, but being customer driven is really about sustainable growth. In short, it is really understanding how people live, based on what they purchase. We cannot rely on people’s experience alone, experience has taught us that many common beliefs are wrong. Myths such as ‘price sensitive shoppers are neither profitable or loyal’ are now known to be untrue – data has proven this.

Using Customer Data Science is really about separating myth from reality and allowing the right decisions to be made, both for the customer and business. And remember, Customer First is a proven net-profit-growth strategy (as well as a sales driver).  No apologies – it’s about delivering the same outcome that the CEO wants, only by starting in a different place.

Despite this, we know that only 1% of businesses are operating as truly customer centric. The challenge is instilling different behaviour across ALL retail activities. Retailers who do this well start with a clear customer understanding and strategy and believe:

  • In managing Customer groups / segments as strategic business units
  • Everything is better when you start with the Customer
  • Retail agility = Follow the customer

And by doing this, you will challenge conventional decision making and process:

We know adopting a Customer Centric approach isn’t easy, it won’t happen overnight. But there are some quick and simple things retailers can do in stores to start the process. David Ciancio, dunnhumby's Head of Retail explains more...

Adopting a customer first approach is not just important for retailers. We have seen a shift in priorities in Financial Services as Australian Banks and Insurers strive to become more customer centric as customers have increasing choices and flexibility of where to put their money; those in Financial Services can benefit by adopting tactics that retailers have built up over decades. See below for an example of how Tesco Bank has been benefitting from customer centric decision making.