Retailers Turn to Retention and Leveraging Data as Main Priorities For 2022

New Executive Study from CommerceNext Reveals the Importance of Data Management in Scaling Today’s Retail Businesses

After Years of Building the Ecommerce Foundation, the Digital Channel Is Finally Mature and Primed to Be the Key to Long-Term Growth

NEW YORK--()--Sixty-five percent of retailers cite data management as the biggest problem they face in trying to leverage first-party data, according to a new executive survey conducted by CommerceNext. For its fourth annual benchmarking report, The Ascension to Digital Maturity, which was sponsored by conversational commerce leader Attentive, CommerceNext surveyed 114 retail executives spanning brand types and verticals to understand the progress and current trajectory of the retail industry, with a particular focus on today’s top challenges and priorities.

The data indicates that brands were previously mainly concerned with how to acquire first-party data, but are now concentrating on how to properly leverage this data to scale their businesses. Some 66% of DTC companies and 54% of traditional retailers note increasing customer acquisition costs as their greatest challenge to achieving their 2022 goals, making it imperative for brands to effectively use first-party data to better maintain customer relationships and personalize experiences.

“Brands are no longer questioning the importance of investing in digital, signaling that the industry has entered the dimension of digital maturity,” said Scott Silverman, Co-Founder of CommerceNext. “After spending the past two years figuring out which digital strategies to use to keep up with steep e-commerce demand, retailers are now focused on building out what works and scaling through retention, effective data management, investment in sophisticated technologies, and expansion of their acquisition tactics.”

Retailers are spending more on investments geared toward long-term growth, including polishing loyalty programs, enhancing segmentation, integrating advanced customer data platforms and attribution tools, and expanding community engagement tactics. Among the executives surveyed, 61% cite customer data platforms as their top technology investment priority. While brands have historically relied most heavily on email and promotions to gather first-party data, SMS is now catching up to email in importance and effectiveness. Some 13% of respondents plan to launch SMS collection programs this year and 17% will launch loyalty programs.

“With changing consumer expectations and rising customer acquisition costs, it’s imperative for retailers to refine their marketing technology stacks and prioritize relationships with customers,” said Sara Varni, CMO of Attentive. “This report shows that brands need to capitalize on personalized interactions with their customers, and rethink how to not only capture customer data, but also put it to good use.”

Learn more and download the full report here.


Beginning in February 2022, CommerceNext conducted a robust survey of 114 participants that spanned retail and brand types and verticals, broken down as follows: 42% digital-first, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands; 7% digital-first, multibrand retailers; 22% traditional DTC brands with brick-and-mortar outlets; 17% wholesale manufacturers selling direct; 7% traditional multibrand retailers; and 5% other. Among executive respondents, 24% were Head of E-commerce/Digital; 23% were Chief Marketing Officer/Head of Marketing; 15% were Marketing Leader (SVP, VP, Director); 9% were CEO/Founder; 9% were Chief Digital Officer; 5% were Head of Marketing and E-commerce; 4% were Chief Customer Officer; and 10% held other executive roles. Annual revenue at respondents’ companies also varied, with 15% at $10 million; 18% at $10–$49 million; 17% at $50–$99 million; 30% at $100–$499 million; 9% at $500 million–$1 billion; and 11% over $1 billion.

About CommerceNext

CommerceNext is a community, event series and conference for marketers at retail and direct-to-consumer brands. Now in its fourth year, CommerceNext has grown to include webinars, virtual summits, industry research and an online community, in addition to the annual CommerceNext summit and the esteemed CommerceNexty Awards. Inc. magazine named the CommerceNext Summit one of the Top 5 e-commerce conferences for 2019/2020. To learn more about CommerceNext, visit


Media Contacts:
Michael McMullan/Carly Berns

Release Summary

New executive study from CommerceNext reveals the importance of data management in scaling today’s retail businesses.


Media Contacts:
Michael McMullan/Carly Berns