Building a single customer view that takes into account historic purchasing history has become an absolute 'must' when appealing to customers during the lucrative holiday shopping season, according to Neil Capel, founder and CEO of Sailthru, who here examines how retailers can embrace omnichannel marketing to make sure the customer's experience is personalised to match their increasingly high expectations. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The term 'Single Customer View' (SCV) is well known in the marketing industry and interest has grown significantly in the last 12 months. The simplest way to define SCV is as a data-based representation of the traditional corner shop approach of knowing exactly what the local customer wanted and providing a truly personal service in response. Today's leading online brands aspire to build this meaningful relationship with a customer by redefining this method as omnichannel marketing and appealing to customers through the medium which fits their style.

In order for today's retailers to build this SCV it is vital that data collected is associated to a single core identifier so that each customer has a profile that contains data from email, mobile, onsite and social channels as well as in-store purchase data. By breaking this data down, slicing and dicing it and analysing it, retailers can appeal to customers via various communications and ensure that they are personalised, every time for every customer.

Getting personalisation wrapped up
Every customer is unique. The opportunity at hand for all marketers is to leverage the true power of the SCV to connect marketing channels in an experience that is much deeper than a programmatic retargeting buy or a blanketed social media campaign. To leading marketers, personalisation means leveraging all of the explicit behavioural and implicit interest data that has been collected at an individual level and creating highly relevant and dynamic messages and recommendations on a 1-to-1 basis at the time in which a consumer is most likely to open and convert.

This approach has proven to be more effective than batch and blast marketing - marketers taking this approach are giving customers what they actually want, when they want it and based on true interests and known behaviours - and what better time to provide this than when the customer is facing the Christmas shopathon!

But, marketers must tread lightly when considering personalised content and product recommendations, especially during the holiday season when all of the data collected is based on purchases for friends and family rather than the individual themselves. In order to effectively personalise communications across all channels to support holiday gift buying, it is savvy for retailers to isolate data from previous years' holiday purchases. This approach allows retailers to personalise product and content recommendations based on patterns that already exist.

It's all in the timing
As customers, we all know what it is like to be faced with a plethora of emails from brands which are of no interest to us - the holiday season is no different, if anything the volume ramps up with offers and discounts that are irrelevant. Through utilising a method known as personalised send time, retailers can ensure that their offers get into the right hands at the right time - knowing the times when the customer is most likely to interact with the brand is personalisation perfection.

By taking this personalised and timely approach, retailers have the opportunity to turn one-time buyers into regular purchasers and then into brand advocates.