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5/28/2007
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Customer Insight: Complete the Picture With Cross-Channel Analysis

Are you looking at store-, contact center- and Web-based transactions in isolation? Employing cross-channel analysis, Best Buy learned that best customers are typically multi-channel customers, and it's now personalizing marketing messages with a complete view of customer behavior. Here's a look at the cross-channel trend and its implications for technology choices and operational decisions.

You track retail store sales, call-center contacts and e-commerce initiatives, but which customers are interacting through all three channels? More importantly, how do multi-channel interactions relate to customer segments and customer life-time value?

Electronics giant Best Buy is well on its way to answering all these questions thanks to customer data integration and cross-channel analysis. "The idea is to create a well-rounded view of the customer," says Matt Smith, senior director of customer insight. "As we've exposed Best Buy to more and more consumers, we're quickly moving out of the customer acquisition game and into relationship building, so understanding the health of the customer relationship across channels is crucial."

With more and more companies interested in getting a complete view of customers, Web analytics vendors are responding with new products, new partnerships and, in some cases, mergers and acquisitions aimed at supporting cross-channel analysis. The question is, where how far will the trend extend, as it naturally points beyond customer insight into operational concerns such as supply-chain and distribution analysis. It also leads to the question as to whether Web analytics vendors can satisfy all the cross-channel analysis and reporting requirements that might unfold? Here's a look at the short-term opportunities and long-term implications of cross-channel analysis.

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