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Built In: How Data Can Create Meaningful Customer Experiences

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By: Kristin Foster, SVP, Data Science

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When it comes to customer engagement, there is no shortage of research on the importance of creating meaningful and personalized experiences for customers. But what exactly does that mean? And how does it translate into actionable steps?


  1. They save time.

  2. They save money due to the discovery of relevant coupons.

  3. They help customers find complementary products.

  4. They boost customer satisfaction.

Today’s customers expect brands and retailers to understand their interests and needs and tailor experiences as a result without feeling targeted. Meeting those expectations requires a robust data and artificial intelligence strategy that is applied across the path to purchase to create a meaningful and personalized experience. While deploying a data and AI strategy that delivers end-to-end personalization may seem daunting, proven strategies make it possible.

Defining Meaningful Experiences

In the past, creating a meaningful experience was based on instinct and broad research, if any. Strategies were aimed at selling customers on a product’s features with eye-catching packaging, discounts and advertisements. For marketers, creating a meaningful customer experience involved taking a broad brush to the shopper journey.

Consider grocery shopping fifty years ago. Perhaps the grocer knew some customers by name, but the experience was largely impersonal. A typical experience back then consisted of browsing a limited selection of items at the neighborhood market and saving a few dollars with a coupon clipped from the Sunday paper.

Consumers today have more choices than ever in where, how, when and what they’re buying. Creating meaningful experiences now requires hyper-personalization at an entirely different level. These days, personalization is interlinked with meaningful customer experiences.

To stand out from competitors, a retailer’s goal is to meet customers’ specific needs at any time, from their preferred channel (e.g., in-store, online or a combination of the two). Customers also expect to come away from any touchpoint — speaking with an associate, visiting a store, browsing a website, purchasing a product — with the sense that it was a worthwhile investment of their energy, time and money.

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Kristin Foster, SVP, Data Science
As Head of Data Science, Kristin Foster leads a team of more than 250 data scientists focused on researching, developing and deploying customer-first science in grocery retail, insights, customer loyalty and media. By...

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