As much as businesses wish the buyer’s journey was a straight line from intention to their product, the path today covers varied terrain. The modern, omni-channel buyer’s journey is a blend of interactions that span digital and in-person environments, increasing the need for marketers to have a wider view into customer behaviors and mindset.
Because customer data can become siloed among channels, it can be difficult to develop a complete picture. To solve for this, businesses can employ a process called “data onboarding.” Here’s why it matters.
Why Data Onboarding is Important in 2023
Consumers today move fluidly between online and offline worlds. Most are equipped with smartphones that enable internet access from nearly anywhere, which they use to discover and research products and services. The vast majority of consumers start their buying journeys with online research, with at least 81% of shoppers reporting they conduct online research before making a purchase.
But, even as large shares of Americans turn to the internet to research and make purchases, many still value in-person shopping. According to Pew research from 2022, 57% of U.S. adults say, given the choice, they prefer in-person shopping.
Today, the “hybrid” shopping experience is king. Consumers want to blend physical and digital experiences as it suits their needs. In order for this to feel seamless, brands need a unified and integrated approach, where online and offline data come together to make the entire buyer’s journey feel cohesive.
Best Practices for Onboarding Offline Data
2023 is the year to embrace the flexible buyer’s journey and break down data silos that prevent marketers from fully understanding their customer behaviors. As you think about integrating your online and offline data sources, follow these best practices to maximize your success.
Identify your data sources. Take an inventory of all the sources of data about your customers. This might include your website, in-store sales, customer service logs, mobile apps, surveys, advertising platforms, and loyalty programs. Taken together, they will give your organization a more robust, 360-degree view your customers and the buying journey.
Create a consistent data structure. Organizing and standardizing data across varied sources is an important step in improving the accuracy and validity of the resulting analytics. Create systems to help collect and consistently structure data so you can efficiently uncover insights.
Review data for accuracy and validity. Companies have to remain vigilant against dirty data, which creeps into to databases for a variety of reasons. Simple spelling errors, missing values, outdated information, and mismatched data accumulate over time and can seriously compromise data integrity.
Make good use of dashboards. Visualizing data is a way to ensure your organization understands the strategic story the data is telling. Synthesizing online and offline information will tell a more robust and complete story, and dashboards will take the complex mountain of information and turn into easily understood, actionable insights.
Your data is a proprietary asset to your business. Ensure you are making the most of yours in order to deliver the seamless, omnichannel buying experience your customers want. If you need help onboarding, organizing, cleaning, and visualizing your data – reach out to the data marketing experts at B2E!