Prior research has documented a general positive relationship between the deployment of customer analytics and firm performance. In this research we focus on the retailing industry, an industry characterized by tight margins that lead to careful scrutiny of all business investments. Using survey data from 418 top managers based in the Americas, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia, we show that of the eight industries in the study, firms in the retail industry have the most to gain from deploying customer analytics. However, we also find that not only do many retailers not perceive this potential gain, they do not invest in customer analytics at an economically appropriate level. Thus we identify a gap between perception and reality concerning the potential for customer analytics in the retail industry that has both theoretical and practical implications.
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