Data is the new gold

“Data is the new gold,” declares Fredrik Bergström, a consultant within digital customer experience development at Tieto. We are no longer just buying things. What we are looking for is experiences – and we are paying with the data that we leave behind.

Digitalisation gives companies and organisations the opportunity to get to know their customers even better through analysing information about their behaviour. But in the quest to design the perfect customer experience, there is a risk that personal integrity is compromised. Tieto’s earlier study “Cool or Creepy” showed that there is a gap between how the company uses the information it has collected and what the customers actually want and are offered.

The boundaries are shifting

“Another such gap is the difference in the perception of personal integrity between different generations, with younger generations being more comfortable with providing information with purchases of different types. We are seeing a continuous shift, when we will see more and more groups who think it is acceptable to provide data, as long as they receive something in return that is perceived as valuable,” says Frederik Bergström.

Necessity buying

The consumption of the future can be divided into “necessity buying” and “buying for pleasure”. Necessity buying is acquiring something we need but don’t actually desire, such as replenishing of milk in the fridge.

“There are plenty of opportunities for change here if the Internet of Things becomes more widespread. The fridge keeps track of how much milk is left, gathers together other items under the heading of necessity buying, and orders a bag of groceries that is delivered to the door later in the evening, or that is put in the trunk of the car when you drive home after work.”

Sales occur in context

“If we then look at buying for pleasure, much of it takes place in context, i.e. the environment in which you experience the urge to buy. In the future, the purchase, or the experience, will continue to take place in a physical environment, although not necessarily in a shop, as is the case today. Think of a sporting event where you suddenly see a pair of cool football boots and you buy them there and then, rather than the day after in a sports shop.”

What about the shops then? Major changes are taking place in this area as well. Today, many people are already thinking of an experience and going to a “social playground” where you have, for example, a café with health drinks in a sports shop. Omni-channel is another powerful trend where the experience for customers between the digital and the physical store is seamless. When a customer has looked at a pair of sports shoes online, the shop assistant knows which shoes the customer has earmarked and has already picked out the right size when the customer walks into the shop.

Towards Facebook

Looking further ahead, retail will become more akin to Facebook, in the sense that the value will be in the network. When retailers have the details of a purchase, these can be shared with other retailers, thus increasing the customer experience.

“Imagine you’re buying ski trousers and a ski jumper. The intelligent network will now work out that you’re probably going on a ski holiday and will link you to promotions and experiences such as air travel, hotels in the mountains, skiing and snowboarding. Here we are back in context again; it becomes all the more important, but at the same time more complex, for retailers to understand and be able to correctly utilise their data in the correct context and constantly see new connections. But this is where the future lies and all this has to happen gradually, without consumers feeling that their personal integrity is being compromised,” concludes Fredrik Bergström.



Fredrik Bergström
Principal Consultant, Customer Experience Management, Tieto