For retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) executives, increasing customer satisfaction and improving customer experience are the biggest opportunities they see from utilizing data-driven insights. And customer data is very valuable to this sector: 59% of them cite it as the most useful source of data they have. 

These are some of the insights revealed by a recent survey, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Snowflake, of 914 global executives across eight industries, including 117 from the retail and CPG sector. The survey results reveal how this sector’s leaders are adapting their data strategies, engaging with the broader data ecosystem, and converting data insights into growth and performance.

Retail companies have transformed their business models based on information from rich streams of internal data, fed by sources such as point-of-sale systems, online transactions, loyalty programs, and social media posts. 

And accessing and integrating external data can help retailers gain even more knowledge about their customers’ preferences and behaviors. More than half (58%) of retail companies responding to the survey have purchased data from third-party vendors. External data, such as regional socioeconomic intelligence and weather forecasts, can help drive more granular decision making, for example, determining inventory levels of products at different stores. 

Survey results suggest that retailers plan to enhance data capabilities to boost sharing in the future. Looking ahead three years, 48% plan to improve their data infrastructure, and 43% plan to invest in artificial intelligence and machine-learning tools. Retailers seem to understand that knowledge—especially about their customers—is power.

For more details on the survey and its insights, download our retail and CPG survey report, Data’s Evolution in the Cloud: Retail Leveraging Data Amid Disruption. You can also view reports from other industries and global regions on our main survey site, Data’s Evolution in the Cloud