By Mike Means, Validity
The holiday season represents as much as 30 percent of annual sales for retailers, according to the National Retail Federation. This enormous percentage of revenue over the span of approximately two months makes it crucial for businesses to use accurate customer relationship management (CRM) data to effectively reach and communicate with customers. Otherwise, retailers are subject to falling short on their annual sales goals, and even worse, harming their reputation in the process.
Bad data - defined as entries that are either missing, wrong or incorrect, entered into the wrong field, non-conforming or duplicate - is one of the most expensive annual line items for businesses, yet its detrimental tie to revenue is largely underemphasized. According to a recent report, bad data accounts for trillions of dollars spent annually by U.S. businesses. And impacts to the bottom line for retailers can be particularly hard-hitting when product and store managers, brand leaders, and other decision makers use bad data in a CRM system to evaluate buyer habits, set price points, enter new markets, inform product development, determine messaging strategies, and more.
Let’s break down the practical need for accurate data further, especially at one of the times of the year that matters most to retailers. It’s estimated that consumers will spend $124 billion online this holiday season, which accounts for nearly $1 of $6 spent shopping overall during the early November to end of December time period. Knowing this, what if your company’s holiday promotions or new product information isn’t reaching your customer’s inboxes because the data you used to send those communications was outdated or incorrect, while your competitors are working with an accurate database? The trend of consumers taking their shopping online, during the holiday season and year-round, makes the need for trustworthy data a direct counterpart for success. With accurate contact information, such as email addresses that have been validated through a reliable third-party email verification tool, you stand a better chance of reaching your customers in a timely fashion with product details and sales offers that maximize ROI for your holiday season.
Bad data in digital campaigns is most visual via email bounce backs, which provide a data-driven indication of address validity. While this feedback does provide insight into accuracy, it doesn’t demonstrate how many email addresses are valid, but infrequently checked by consumers. A substantial number of bounced emails also can result in a domain or IP address being listed on a spam or blacklist report, which impacts email communication and the company’s reputation.
While the most apparent need for accurate data is to effectively get in front of your ideal customer through direct correspondence, let’s talk about additional repercussions of bad data, outside of financial deficits.
We hinted at damaging the company’s external reputation. It also can damage elements of internal perception. One of the truly negative consequences of bad data can be a decline in internal morale and company projections. Bad data sneaks into the CRM and slowly deteriorates the system’s value while increasing the cost of remedying a culmination of small data errors. As a result, prospecting and selling gets muddled, forecasts are off, and marketing efforts are wasted. Everyone who touches the CRM begins to doubt its importance, and it becomes less and less of a priority to update and maintain.
The good news with data collection is that because it’s constantly changing and evolving, there’s no inopportune time to begin taking steps to ensure your CRM is in the best shape it can be, especially as consumers continue to take their interactions and shopping online.
If you’re currently working on a new process for capturing and maintaining accurate data or are simply making it more refined, there’s still time to take steps and make improvements to be ready for the next holiday season.
For more information on how you can implement data quality processes, such as validating the email addresses in your database and ensuring you’re capturing email addresses correctly in real-time at the point of sale, please visit www.validity.com.
About The Author
Mike Means is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Validity, a global leader in data quality with leading offerings such as BriteVerify for email verification. He has advanced knowledge of email deliverability and acquisition through forms and POS systems.