Customer data valuable as oil: Groupe Aeroplan

Company's general manager of retail says Gulf retailers must use technological advances

Tags: Data governanceE-commerceGroupe Aeroplan ( Arab Emirates
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Customer data valuable as oil: Groupe Aeroplan Dave Battiston, Groupe Aeroplan's managing director of retail said that retailers must use data gathered about their customers intelligently.
By  Mark Sutton Published  November 24, 2010

Dave Battiston, Groupe Aeroplan's managing director of retail has said that Gulf retailers involved in loyalty schemes must keep up with technological advances and better manage customer data to keep up with competitive markets.

Speaking today at the Customer Show MENA 2010 in Dubai, Battiston said that the proliferation of mobile commerce was making customer loyalty programs easier to access for customers, but that retailers need to make better use of the customer information harvested by these schemes.

Battiston said: "Just like oil, this data is a rich commodity that is extracted and refined, and those that handle it in this way massively increase their chances of success. If you go to the local grocer, you will get a personal service from a retailer that knows what you like and this encourages you to keep going back. In the same way, larger organisations must always strive to better understand the needs of individual customers and the correct use of data is a crucial factor.

"One of the biggest challenges facing retailers is the increasing need to provide consumer value, with many merchants looking to loyalty options rather than discounting prices. By understanding customer shopping behaviour organisations can individually target promotions to prevent inefficient ‘across the board' marketing. This in turn increases customer loyalty and ultimately generates significantly better returns on investment for retailers.

Battiston highlighted the importance of smart interaction between retailers and customers, where customer data can be used to suggest new purchases based on previous interactions.

"Most major retailers are now multi-channel and like to engage consumers through smart interaction, such as with Amazon, where the website will automatically show you other things you might like to buy whenever you make a purchase. This type of intelligent interaction will be vital to the future success of retailers," he said.

Groupe Aeroplan owns 60% of loyalty program Air Miles Middle East, and is currently aiming for a 50% increase in penetration by 2013, which will take their membership to over 3 million.

"We will strive to ensure our members continue to be engaged in this manner using rewards, while significantly increasing our presence across the region through increased penetration as a result of an aggressive acquisition drive."

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