customer experience retail

Real-Time Data Will Enhance the Customer Experience in 2022

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The rippling effects of the ongoing pandemic continue to disrupt the retail industry two years after Covid-19 first shut down the global economy. Consumer habits have shifted dramatically. As options for in-person shopping and dining have decreased, reliance on digital experiences has grown.

Brands have had to rethink their digital and product strategies, pushing the field of customer experience analytics directly into the spotlight. 

Digital intelligence platforms like Scuba Analytics and FullStory are expanding rapidly — with funding rounds led by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Big data analytics is expected to grow to $100 billion in the next five years, driven in large part by demand from retail brands for real-time insights and accurate customer engagement data.

“As competition for consumers’ attention, time, and dollars stiffens, it’s survival of the fittest,” says Tony Ayaz, CEO of Scuba Analytics. “Brands must now rely on user data to inform product strategy as a key differentiator in the marketplace—and platforms like continuous intelligence and real-time analytics allow brands to do that.”

How customer experience analytics is helping businesses

The field of customer experience analytics isn’t new. Brands have been using platforms for product analytics and behavioral analysis for more than a decade. Customer experience analytics involves the collection and assessment of all the most modern types of customer data — including online reviews, social media posts, and website purchases — to enable brands to better understand their customers and make digital interactions more enjoyable. 

Ayaz is one of a number of industry leaders calling for greater levels of data integrity in 2022 and encouraging brands to be more proactive in their approach to customer experience.

“We are past the survey phase,” Ayaz says. “[We’re] in a real-time data economy now.”

Website glitches, like dead links and rejected coupon codes, can damage a brand’s reputation and create barriers to shopping. Eighty-nine percent of consumers say they are more likely to make a subsequent purchase with a brand after a positive customer service experience than a negative one, according to data from Salesforce.

Outdated legacy systems that aren’t built for real-time are impacting data integrity for retail brands. Not only do legacy systems require manual effort to collect, prepare, and present data on status dashboards, but they’re also notoriously difficult to connect with the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

“The analytics approaches of 15 to 20 years ago do not scale with the horsepower the cloud provides to utilize AI and ML,” Ayaz says. “Customer expectations are high, and [there’s] limited patience for bad service.”

Seeing data in action with customer journeys, clicks, and engagement makes innovation faster, and Ayaz believes that real-time customer experience analytics is a game changer for those who adapt. 

“​​If it takes a product team a week to figure out what your daily active users look like, it’s six days too long. If you notice a sharp drop-off of users on a Saturday but can’t get to the root of the problem for a month, there is no way to correct the issue, and the damage done to your reputation in the 30 days can be costly,” Ayaz says. “Without real-time capabilities, or the ability for a different line of business owners to access data—free from the help of analysts, which can bottleneck the process—your data will go stale, [which] can have a significant bottom-line impact.” 

Covid-19 was a driving force behind customer experience analytics in 2021, with the value of the cloud becoming clearer for businesses and real-time customer analytics becoming critical for brands that rely on end-consumers via web or mobile. IT investments made on data infrastructure for the cloud have made it possible to gather data more quickly to improve experiences.

Going forward, Ayaz expects to see more brands engaging in proactive customer experience analytics and management. For example, when a customer has an issue that needs to be resolved, the brand knows what kind of workflow the customer has been going through and the best solution to the problem — even before the customer contacts customer support.

“Business teams today cannot afford to wait for curated data insights within static dashboards. Most are digital natives that are savvy and do not need hand holding to understand data,” Ayaz says. “They require the ability to ask questions on the fly with predictive signals to drive revenue and innovation across customers and product-all in a unified platform.”

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.