Data sharing, for a better CX. IDC predicts that “by 2024, 25% of the customer data utilized to drive personalized experiences and improve omni-channel merchandising, marketing, and service intelligence will be sourced from shared customer data hubs” (IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2022 Predictions — IDC #US47249621, October 2021). For marketing and customer experience strategy leaders, robust customer data is critical. Increasingly, retailers, vendors, and industry stakeholders are turning to collaborative platforms and shared customer data hubs to source rich data and insights. In the past, collaboration and data sharing across industry stakeholders was more of an analytical arms race between retailers and their suppliers. Each party had a different view of data, varied insights, and competing perspectives of what was in the best interests of the consumer. A more collaborative approach with shared customer data hubs requires not just a technology upgrade, but also a cultural shift. Across organizations, industry partners will need to be more comfortable with the transparency that is required and the trust that is necessary to identify opportunities for mutual benefit.
Increasing attention toward CDPs. More and more retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are considering and planning to invest in customer data platforms (CDPs). A CDP enables enterprises to aggregate, analyze, and activate real-time customer data from multiple sources. It automates data connections; extracts, transforms, and loads processes; stores data persistently; and leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) analytics. As a result, a CDP is an essential part of an enterprise customer data ecosystem (see IDC PlanScape: Customer Data Platform for Retail Customer Experience and Commerce — IDC #US42174518, February 2021).
IDC’s point of view on retail and CPG. In the consumer industry, breaking down data silos and compliance with security standards and regulations are among the top challenges when implementing CX processes. Reimagining customer data management in the age of personalization is key to building long-term customer value through loyalty and trust:
Leveraging AI and ML analytics to personalize and contextualize customer experience in real time. Retailers and CPG companies collect different customer data from sales transactions and historical data from several customer and enterprise interfaces. They can also access operational data from production, inventory, and supply chain data. B2C and D2C companies need to ingest, process, and analyze huge amounts of data to optimize customer experience continuity across interactions. Leveraging AI and ML analytics is, therefore, foundational for retailers; CPG companies and brands need to continually enhance their transparent, trusted, and intuitive decisioning, while improving customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer lifetime value, and ultimately, increasing customer loyalty. Moreover, AI and ML analytics need to be embedded — across interfaces and applications — into retail- and customer-experience-specific use cases, such as social marketing, loyalty programs, 360-degree connected customer data management, privacy management, customer life-cycle engagement, voice of customer, external customer data, and analysis.
A CDP helps retailers and CPG companies to scale livestream engagement and contextual personalization at speed and scale. The implementation of a unified data hub enables enterprises to gather and organize customer data in real time across and over different customer (and enterprise) interfaces. It is, therefore, important for retailers and CPG companies to maximize the value from investments in resources on integrating customer and enterprise data across the portfolio of applications.
Designing, planning, implementing, and executing a customer data platform is a collaborative approach. As a collaborative process, CDPs require not only a mere technology upgrade, but also a cultural shift. This means:
Also, IDC Retail Insights recommends retail and CPG organizations to scrutinize and select technology partners that have a deep understanding of underlying business challenges they are currently facing, not just the technology solution.
Finally, retailers and CPG companies should use this report to support their software and specialty CDP provider selection evaluation process and:
This section briefly explains IDC’s key observations resulting in a vendor’s position in the IDC MarketScape. While every vendor is evaluated against the criteria outlined in the Appendix, the description here provides a summary of each vendor’s strengths and opportunities.
After a thorough evaluation of BlueConic’s strategies and capabilities, IDC has positioned the company in the Leaders category in this 2022 IDC MarketScape for worldwide retail and CPG customer data platform.
BlueConic is a privately held specialist CDP provider. The company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. BlueConic offers a pure-play CDP for teams including marketers, product, customer experience, and analytics.
The platform, designed for non-technical users, helps organizations achieve data integrity, control, and accessibility as well as support volume, velocity, and variety of data across the customer journey. BlueConic’s CDP product offering consists of key platform capabilities including unified profiles, multidimensional segmentation, analytics and modeling, life-cycle orchestration, multibrands and multiregional support, and consent management. The focus of BlueConic’s CDP offering is to improve companies’ data quality, analytics, and agility; mitigate data risk; and generate more effective customer engagement through the use of real-time data.
BlueConic’s road map aims to address companies’ shift from third-party to first-party data in order to ensure the most effective use of consented first-party customer data, privacy protection, consent management, intelligent tracking protection, and revenue diversification. The platform also aims to enable data management, insights, and optimization of additional revenue streams such as new D2C initiatives or omni-channel marketing.
Quick facts about BlueConic:
Highlights of BlueConic’s distinctive retail and CPG capabilities:
Consider BlueConic if you are looking for a pure-play CDP provider for non-technical users and with solid delivery capabilities, efficient set up and integration time, and flexibility to support growing use cases. Customers in medium-sized and large enterprises without granular industry-specific capability requirements and that need support primarily in the U.S. and Europe should consider BlueConic as a strong choice.
In this IDC MarketScape, IDC Retail Insights assesses the capabilities and strategies of popular enterprise software vendors and specialty CDP providers in serving the needs of retail and CPG companies and brands worldwide across industry segments (food and nonfood retail). Vendors will be evaluated according to their success in designing, developing, installing, configuring, and maintaining the evolution of a complete customer data platform (Figure 2) serving retailers. The target platform that is taken as a reference includes all of the core capabilities that enable customer experience differentiation and seamless commerce, customer loyalty, and marketing automation, along with the required operational efficiencies for profitability and business model agility. The core components of the platform are:
The customer data platform for retail and CPG relies on a cloud-first architecture (with possibility of onpremises or public, private, hybrid cloud delivery when necessary) and provides development services and API-based integration with enterprise services and consumer services. At the same time, it leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning, or an advanced analytics foundation.
To be included in this report, IDC Retail Insights analysts stipulated that vendors should meet the following minimum criteria:
For the purposes of this analysis, IDC divided potential key measures for success into two primary categories: capabilities and strategies. Positioning on the y-axis reflects the vendor’s current capabilities and menu of services and how well aligned the vendor is with customer needs. The capabilities category focuses on the capabilities of the company and product today, here and now. Under this category, IDC analysts will look at how well a vendor is building/delivering capabilities that enable it to execute its chosen strategy in the market. Positioning on the x-axis or strategies axis indicates how well the vendor’s future strategy aligns with what customers will require in three to five years. The strategies category focuses on high-level decisions and underlying assumptions about offerings, customer segments, and business and go-tomarket plans for the next three to five years.
Vendor footprint, depicted by the size of the bubble, is based on IDC Retail Insights’ best estimates of the vendor revenue on a global basis for software related to the Retail and CPG Customer Data Platform.
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys, and the input of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores — and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape — on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.
In this IDC MarketScape, IDC Retail Insights assesses the capabilities and strategies of popular enterprise software vendors and specialty CDP providers in serving the specific needs of retail and CPG companies and brands worldwide across industry segments (food and nonfood retail). Vendors will be evaluated according to their success in designing, developing, installing, configuring, and maintaining the evolution of a complete customer data platform serving retailers. The target platform that is taken as a reference includes all of the core capabilities that enable customer experience differentiation and seamless commerce, customer loyalty, and marketing automation, along with the required operational efficiencies for profitability and business model agility. According to IDC’s Retail Core Processes and Applications Survey, 2021, 53% of retailers have already implemented customer data management applications, resulting in increased revenue growth for 63% and profitability for 59% of retailers that adopted such solutions. Compliance with current data privacy and security regulations is a fundamental step that retailers and brands should consider to effectively prevent the misuse of customer data and their identity management. Organizations that do not manage customer consent and data privacy will struggle in securing the end-to-end customer journey and in ensuring compliance and confidentiality. Moreover, customer experience services remain a priority for retailers that plan to invest in platformenabling capabilities over the next 12 to 24 months. CX services enable the discovery of the customer context, real-time customer journey personalization (including loyalty), and customer interface enablement across voice, image, text, and AR. Companies can dynamically collect data from several consumer interfaces and data sets, aggregating and transforming them by leveraging AI and delivering real-time contextual experiences. Therefore, having more customer data (both direct and contextual) and the adequate technology to appropriately employ that data helps retailers meet customer needs more effectively.