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Invest In Data For The Ultimate Customer Experience

Written by Hugh Stevens, the Head of Strategic Growth at LiveRamp

As the tech job market continues to grow, food delivery giant Deliveroo recently announced that they will be creating 400 new tech jobs, with most positions focused on data. 

It is becoming clear that the need for individuals skilled with the handling and analysis of data is greater than ever before, not only to fuel the growing digital transformation, but also to aid in retail and hospitality’s post-pandemic recovery.

It is no secret that ecommerce has been boosted by the pandemic – with physical stores forced to shut, consumers have relied on online sales channels to fuel their purchasing habits. The same can be said for hospitality; the online food delivery industry has been propelled years into the future, with users and revenue skyrocketing due to lockdowns and isolations. This growth presents exciting opportunities for the use of data to continue the rapid expansion of the sector.

Finding effective ways to reach and engage customers  has never been more crucial for businesses, and a focused data strategy can make all the difference. Our own Moving Forward Through Digital report shows that 32% of retail, hospitality and leisure leaders say customer data helps improve their products and services and is essential to drive growth in their sector.

By delving into their treasure trove of first-party data, retailers are synchronising online and in-person sales channels to ensure coherence between them, which in turn is helping to elevate returns and drive growth. 

While Google’s planned removal of third-party cookies might be postponed, it is still approaching. It is therefore vital that alternative strategies are established to ensure businesses are making the best use of their own customer data, and not retaining a reliance on third-party cookies. Strong data strategies that prioritise privacy and security for customers, such as LiveRamp Safe Haven, can ameliorate the losses that may come from the removal of third-party cookies, strengthen businesses understanding of their customers, protect against risk in the face of an ever-evolving advertising landscape, and ensure the recent growth seen in the retail and hospitality sectors is sustained. 

Investment in data can boost the customer experience through a stronger connection with customers and greater emphasis on data analytics will allow restaurants to respond to customer complaints and remedy them in real-time, ultimately improving customer service and providing a seamless experience.

Customer loyalty is central to fuelling growth and revenue within the hospitality industry, and data can play a key role in retaining customers and drawing in new ones. Through more targeted marketing, restaurants can ensure resources are used to advertise to likely customers and the knowledge that data can bring on existing customers can unveil patterns in purchasing habits and provide a more coherent understanding of consumers.

Having a robust data strategy presents exciting opportunities for the hospitality sector, especially when approached in a collaborative way. Food delivery services that have thousands of restaurants nationally on their platform, could bring their data together within a privacy-driven and secure environment, to recognise customers who enjoy similar cuisines, price points or dishes. In turn, restaurants can target specific customers with ads or promotions to entice them and increase sales, as well as reaching a wider pool of potential customers. 

 These benefits are more vital than ever as restaurants look to strengthen their online offering, reach more customers and overall strengthen business outcomes. 

Investment in data analytics also has industry-wide and even national benefits in terms of economic growth. Not only will new tech jobs stimulate employment, but the value produced from a more data-driven and collaborative approach to business will ensure resources are used efficiently and effectively.

Customer data is clearly invaluable to businesses, and digitally skilled individuals are key to utilising and maximising it. To fuel the demand for a greater tech focus, the workforce must prioritise digital skills in the field of data science like python, low and no-code data analytics and data visualisation, to ensure all businesses have the opportunity to leverage their first-party data.

76% of businesses say that a lack of digital skills would affect the profitability of their business, so upskilling the workforce with refined digital skills must be central to the data revolution. Data only holds value if it can be interpreted and utilised effectively, so to ensure a data-driven future for our retail and hospitality sectors, businesses should be looking to strengthen their capabilities in data science and analytics.

 To facilitate a strong post-pandemic recovery, the retail and hospitality sectors must invest in a robust customer data framework and leverage their first-party data to generate a much deeper understanding of their customers. The ultimate customer experience that will drive growth and opportunity within the industry, can be achieved through consolidated and vigorous data that drives actionable insights translating into more personal and impactful customer experiences.

Hugh Stevens is the Head of Strategic Growth at LiveRamp.