Creating a Better Customer Experience: What Retailers Need to Know About Master Data Management


Achieving a consistent shopping experience, whether in the store, on the web, or via a mobile device, is extremely complex. Information about customers is coming from a variety of sources, and today there is more value in connecting the data to derive beneficial information than there is in the original data itself. Organizational insights begin with knowing your customer, but this is becoming increasingly difficult for many in today’s virtual, technologically advanced world.

With the proliferation of smart devices, the reliance on technology for conducting day-to-day transactions and interactions continues to increase. The number of systems that house or rely on data about companies and/or customers is vast and fragmented with each operating independently of one another. Identifying and reconciling data across these disparate and siloed systems makes creating a complete and accurate view of a customer almost impossible.

Today, no single system contains this view across all lines of business within an enterprise or is designed to manage the complete lifecycle of the data. As a result, nurturing relationships with customers is increasingly difficult as organizations are unable to see the true picture of them across all channels and applications. To help resolve these challenges, many retailers are now turning to Master Data Management (MDM) software.

Using Data to Super-Charge Customer Engagement

Maintaining accurate, standardized product data across all channels is now a priority, as consumers expect a seamless retail experience. Not only do retailers need to manage hundreds of vendors and thousands of SKUs, but expanding assortments and the demand for personalization also place an emphasis on the need for centralized product and customer data domains.

As retailers look to create a single, trusted source of information, many are turning to MDM solutions to help solve the data discrepancy. MDM solutions are a key enabler to a successful customer experience, as they combine the technology, processes and services needed to set up and maintain an accurate, timely, complete, and comprehensive representation of a product, company or customer. Managed in one location, master data is integrated from multiple sources of associated data in multiple application systems and databases, is cleansed and consolidated, and then applied across multiple channels, business lines and enterprises. 

With an MDM strategy in place, retailers can establish a single trusted source of their data. Often referred to as a golden record, of a product or a customer, MDM creates data accuracy that allows businesses to make decisions with confidence and know that the data is complete and correct. When used in conjunction with an existing CRM system, retailers can vastly improve customer engagement and create an overall better experience across marketing, sales, customer service, e-commerce and all other customer-facing channels.

However, this approach requires an understanding of the customer's entire relationship and interactions with the company at any point during the customer journey. So, while CRM and other business applications or suites like ERP, etc., may store their own data and offer their own application data management capabilities, MDM solutions act as the "middle hub" that reconciles, manages, exchanges and governs the core customer master data shared by all applications.

Christophe Marcant is senior vice president of strategy and communication for Stibo Systems, the global leader in multidomain master data management (MDM) solutions. For more information, contact him at [email protected]or visit