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Having a single, unified view of your customers' needs and behaviors? Does it sound too good to be true in a world where customers interact with your business via thousands of touchpoints?

No, it’s not anymore. 😉CDPs (customer data platforms) have made one of marketers’ biggest dreams come true. "Customer Data Platforms are packaged software that helps companies solve a huge and growing problem: the need for unified, accessible customer data," as David from the CDP institute puts it.

But what exactly is a customer data platform, and what can it do to your e-commerce business? What are the key benefits of using a CDP? And why is Clerk Audience a smarter CDP, perfectly for e-commerce?

To answer all these questions and more, we’ve made this definitive guide to CDPs📚.

What is a CDP?

CDP definition

Foremost, a customer data platform can collect, aggregate, and organize historical and real-time customer data from all sources (online and offline channels) into centralized, individual customer profiles. Doing so allows for a single 360° view of each customer. After this, a CDP makes that data accessible throughout the entire company and available to other systems for marketing campaigns, customer services, and other business needs.

According to the Customer Data Platform Institute, to be qualified as a CDP, a platform must meet the following three criteria ✅:

  1. Packaged software: the CDP is a prebuilt system that can be configured to meet the different needs of each client.
  2. A persistent, unified customer database: the CDP can create a comprehensive, updated view of each customer by collecting data from multiple sources, linking information related to the same customer profile, and storing the information to track behavior over time.
  3. Accessible to other systems: data stored in the CDP can be used by other systems for analysis and managing customer interactions.

Lastly, it is also important to note that a CDP is not a CRM (customer relationship management) system and not a DMP (data management platform):

  • CDP vs. CRM: A CRM typically only focuses on sales data (customer transaction data), and it has limited integrations with other systems. Also, a CRM does NOT collect data from anonymous visitors.
  • CDP vs. DMP: A DMP focuses on 3rd-party data while a CDP has a big focus on 1st-party data. Also, a DMP tends to be limited to advertising, while a CDP helps optimize experience throughout the entire customer journey.

Key benefits of using a CDP

Fundamentally, CDPs are designed to collect and organize real-time customer data into individual, centralized customer profiles. Based on this, there’re 3 key benefits of using a CDP 😎:

  • Better understand your customers through a single 360° customer view. First, CDPs can form a more comprehensive view of your customers as customer data are collected from a wide range of sources, like the company's website, email, Facebook, physical stores, and any other places a customer might interact with your company. In other words, CDPs capture diverse customer behaviors across devices and channels. Furthermore, CDPs ensure a more accurate view of your customers. Because CDPs primarily focus on collecting first-party data – data directly from your customers, social media followers, site visitors, and email subscribers.
  • Improved data accessibility. CDPs can help your company avoid data silos. (Data silos refer to the problem that some data are only available to one department but isolated and inaccessible from the rest of the company.) By organizing your customer data at a centralized hub, your data will be accessible by all departments across the entire company.
  • More organized data management with minimal efforts. CDPs simplify the process of collecting, organizing, and using your customer data. Moreover, you can have a good handle on your customer data with minimal effort to set up and maintain the CDP.

Clerk Audience: A smarter CDP

Did you know that you can leverage Clerk Audience as a CDP?

Clerk as a CDP

With the ability to define, target, and profile customers with real-time data from multiple online and offline sources, Audience can be leveraged as a highly functional and customizable CDP. Here, the data is systematically structured and centralized for analytics, campaigns, and other business needs. However, Clerk Audience is more than a basic CDP – It is a smarter CDP with more advanced capabilities 🤩. Besides being only a data CDP that unifies customer data to create a single 360° customer view, Clerk Audience is also an analytics CDP with real-time, systematic customer data analysis and a campaign CDP which allows for targeted marketing campaigns.

Clerk’s CDP tool is also designed to talk to other Clerk products (i.e., Email, Search, and Recommendations) and other external systems. For instance, you can easily sync your audiences with your Ad, social, ESP, and CRM platforms. This enables your business to achieve omnichannel targeting and marketing, which in return leads to increased ROI of using Clerk as a CDP.

Clerk Audience integrations

The figure below summarizes the key functionalities and compelling benefits of using Clerk Audience 🔮:

Clerk CDP benefits

If you want to learn more about how to leverage Clerk Audience as a CDP and what its key functionalities and profiling features are, check out this support article right here.

How other companies use Clerk as a CDP

Munk Store, a leading fashion retailer in Denmark, leverages Clerk as a CDP to deliver truly personalized experiences at every touchpoint in a customer's shopping journey. 🛍️By having a unified 360° view of each customer, Munk Store is able to create personalized search experiences, show hyper-relevant product recommendations, and run targeted email marketing campaigns.

As the example below shows, with a simple click, Munk Store can instantly create scalable customer segments with expected ROI to, for instance, re-engage one-time buyers that are slipping away, win back loyal customers that are lost, and much more!

Customer Story Munk Store

Want more inspiration 💡?

Here is how you get started using your customer data effectively 😎. We've compiled a list of 29+ real-life examples on how to use customer data effectively to generate more sales and revenue for your e-commerce store. Get this guide for free right now 📚.

With Clerk's CDP, you can create a unified 360° customer view and target your shoppers with the right product, the right messaging, at the right time, wherever they are 🚀. Talk to one of our specialists today.

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