Nordics / UK hospitality and retail study: With customer data pouring in the finance departments could help to improve the customer data quality

Over 90% of the 102 surveyed retailers in the Nordics offer a loyalty program. Compared with 100 UK companies of which only 74% offer this in the UK. Half of the Nordic chains have every other transaction linked to members. A third of the Nordic companies spend a minimum of 100 hours per year on accounting work that could be automated.

Ida Limbäck and Semer Said at Uppsala University, jointly with ID24, approached the largest Nordic retailers with a quantitative survey.

– The finding that 91% of retail chains in the Nordics offer a loyalty program was beyond our expectations when we began the research. As customer data is a highly valued business resource we also understand why they do offer a loyalty program, says Ida Limbäck, BSc from Uppsala University.

Almost every other finance department doesn’t ensure customer data quality in the Nordics and similar challenges are spotted in the UK

84% of the Nordics survey respondents agree that customer data is important for the business. Yet 43% of their finance departments report never, very seldom or seldom taking part in ensuring the customer data quality. The research group contacted a number of finance departments in the UK to align the results across British retailers: Beaverbrooks, Cotton traders, Iceland, Majestic Wine, M&S, Specsavers, Travis Perkins and Travelodge UK.

With bonus points pouring in the finance departments could help to improve the customer data quality.

– We cross referenced the Nordics results with nine retailers in the UK from various sectors  and realised that many of the finance departments we spoke to rarely play a role in the customer data quality, says Alex Campbell, business consultant at ID24.

Every third retailer does not account bonus points

Every third Nordic retail chain (29%) offering bonus points does not account the points on the balance sheet. In the UK none of the companies told us they definitely account for these. This shows not only a possible problem from a legal standpoint but also a large opportunity to optimize accounting processes. By reducing the costs in this area it can increase the number of companies who account for points as it can be very time and money intensive to account for bonus points.

– Many factors make the bonus point value calculations complicated and time consuming such as having international subsidiaries or franchise structures, says Jakob Gottlieb, co-founder at ID24.

Every second chain in the Nordics lacks automated solutions and spends over 100 hours on manual accounting

This study shows that only every second retail company has an IT integration in place to automatise the accounting of the loyalty program, which leads to higher labour costs. Every third respondent could optimise this process as they report they need more than 100 hours to complete accounting for the loyalty program(s).

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