From Virtual to Virtually Complete: Connecting In-Store Data with Online Profiles

Nov 14, 2021 - Daniel Murphy

The modern data ecosystem takes in data from a wide variety of places. In-store purchases, online profiles, eCommerce, web tracking, sales & service data, lead scoring software, and more! These are all pieces that contribute to creating a complete picture of who your customer is; the full 360 view. The rise in the importance and availability of rich first-party data has driven the - not-so-long-ago - emerging, and now booming CDP (Customer Data Platform) landscape.

As recently as 5 years ago the discussion was that CDPs were a great concept, but no one was doing it well, and there were a lot of challenges to solve to get there. Fast forward to today and we at Vigorate have been active through 2021 in strategizing and setting up CDPs for many of our clients, and the issues that blocked a real, meaningful 360 view of the customer 5 years ago are starting to abate. Legacy systems are being replaced or fed into data lakes that can normalize and share that data out to the CDP to finally connect with existing data from other sources.

This new mechanism to help know the customer better is also accompanied by the requirement to do something meaningful with the data. Something that will benefit the customer as we make this unwritten agreement for the value exchange of customer data for relevance, timeliness, and making their lives easier. Customers know that companies collect their data, and are largely ok with this fact, as long as there is a clear value exchange.

One of the largest challenges to overcome remains the collection of in-store point of sale (POS) data. We’ve seen this challenge emerge as the largest gap in first-party data consolidation across organizations of all shapes and sizes where there is a retail presence. How do we capture more in-store purchase behaviour that can be mapped back to an individual? If we can accomplish that, mapped onto eComm data, profile data, web behaviour data; then we can unlock true value for customers.

There are a number of tactics that can be successful in accomplishing this, and each can work based on the organization, available tech stack, the appetite of internal stakeholders and budgets.

In-store Data Capture Tactics:


  • Likely the lowest barrier-to-entry option on this list, the eReceipt program allows us to provide the value of electronic receipts to customers while we also connect the purchases made back to an email address on file. It can be taken a step further too, allowing customers to log-in and view their recent purchase history in their online profile. This naturally requires integration with the POS provider and the ability to write this data into an accessible location for data storage. eRecipt can also be used to incentivize email capture with a % off your next purchase offer or something of the like.

Loyalty Program

  • Loyalty rewards programs can be great for capturing customer data, but they do come with a cost. Carrying a large balance of un-redeemed points across the customer base and managing the earn and burn rates is a full-time job and requires a dedicated department or partner to manage it.

Mobile App

  • A mobile app can be used to drive in-store engagement, capture product and preference data and drive back relevant offers to the customer without having a full-scale loyalty program to manage. Utilize an app to scan in store for discounts and data capture, utilize an app for self-check-out rather than using in-store kiosks.

So what then is the true value of having all of this centralized data in a CDP, or simply having in-store purchase data that can be mapped back to an online profile?

Simply put, it’s personalization. Driving increased relevance to the customer, providing greater value, and in turn increasing frequency of shop, assortment and basket size as the leading KPIs.

Data sharing between a customer and a business does not have to have negative connotations, as long as the value exchange is clearly reciprocal.

Use in-store purchase data to:

  • Personalize offers in email, on the website, in-app
  • Send alerts via push, email or SMS when a frequently-bought product has not been purchased in a while (are you running low on detergent?)
  • Deliver loyalty tactics without the Loyalty Program
  • Loyalty programs are ultimately a data play, and many of the tactics used in loyalty can be put to work through a well-planned CRM marketing program that can drive the same type of data capture without the overhead that comes along with a full-scale loyalty program build (with the investment in a loyalty platform, or the cost of joining an affiliate program such as Air Miles).

71% of consumers

feel frustrated when a shopping

experience is impersonal.

– Segment

70% of millennials

are frustrated with brands

sending irrelevant emails.

- SmarterHQ

36% of consumers

say retailers need to do more

to offer personalized experiences.

- Retail TouchPoints


91% of consumers

say they are more likely to shop

with brands that provide offers and

recommendations that are relevant to them.

- Accenture

We know that a complete customer data ecosystem allows us to provide the best customer experience and drive value, and customers expect it! Utilizing in-store data is just another piece to this puzzle. So let’s keep solving it together, and everyone can win.

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