The US retail industry is facing headwinds, due in part to consumers’ growing preference for shopping online. Department store sales in May fell 1% from April, Kiplinger projects only 2% in-store sales growth for the rest of 2017, and a number of retailers are now at risk for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the online retail environment is growing and is more competitive than ever, as Amazon and Walmart look to grow their ecommerce businesses through acquisitions and marketplace recruitment. In order to survive and grow, omnichannel and online retailers must derive the maximum value from each customer relationship. To do that, they must be able to accurately identify each customer, regardless of channel, platform, or device. Identity resolution technology is the key to accomplishing this fundamental retail marketing task.

Seeing customers clearly is key. 

In their Spring 2017 global luxury retail update, Bain and Altagamma wrote that the current climate requires “an impeccable recipe for outperformance” among retailers who wish to stay competitive. No retailer at any price point can afford to lose track of customers as they move between channels. That’s in part because modern consumers expect a seamless experience across channels and also because retailers can’t market to customers who “disappear” by using a new device to shop or by buying in-store after researching online.

Identity resolution lets retailers know who they’re marketing to when they’re marketing to them by collecting, analyzing and scoring data that’s scattered across devices, point of sale terminals, offline databases and third-party databases to identify customers wherever they are. The more data sources are available and the more reliable the data is, the more comprehensive and effective the identity resolution program will be.

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