BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - June 9, 2010) - Between April and May 2010, Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), surveyed 224 retail enterprises to determine the current state of customer-focused selling, in-store marketing, and in-store merchandising initiatives, and related performance.

Data from Aberdeen's November 2009, Automated and Connected Store report indicates that only 65% of retailers measure and track CRM data in stores and other sales channels, leaving a large customer mindshare gap and lost revenue opportunity. What's worse is that over half (52%) of retailers do not possess customer-experience related information processes and technologies in stores and channels that enable timely responsiveness towards customer buying trends and shopping experience. Customer-focused retailing will be the core theme at Aberdeen's upcoming Retail Summit, on June 17 and 18 in New York.

"Our data shows that retailers are conscious of the customer-related complexities that are posing a constant roadblock in the growth of their businesses," says Sahir Anand, Research Director, Retail Research and Chief Author of the report. Aberdeen data indicates that the foremost pressure related to the shopping experience of customers is a highly competitive cross-channel retail space that is presenting a wider and more complex basket of shopping choices for customers (48%). Shopping choices have diversified in the last few years due to popularity and adoption of the following:

  • Online and call center shopping

  • Proliferation of retail categories in non-traditional retail formats (i.e. drug stores and grocers selling general merchandise, office supplies, among other categories)

  • Growing purchase influence of a new generation of shoppers (i.e. Gen Y or millennial generation).

The second highest customer pressure for almost a third (30%) of retailers relates to the inability to obtain adequate customer shopping insights from customer shopping data that is collected from a wide variety of sources such as point-of-sale (POS), online, call center, merchandise, supply chain, and other secondary sources such as industry data co-ops. Retailers have always found that customer data and related analysis is hard to handle. In the case of several large retailers that sell more than 30,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), customer demand and forecast data can run into a few billion records. Aberdeen data shows that 63% of leading retailers identified the inability to access information about customers during the full buying cycle (i.e. before, during, and after sales experience).

"More often than not Laggard retailers blame disparate sources and enormity of customer data as the primary reason for lack of adequate consumer insights that inhibits new customer acquisition, customer retention, and re-activation," says Anand.

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having researched more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

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