Handling Customer IDs when Moving from Bricks-n-Mortar to Online Commerce

Perhaps the stickiest obstacle in successfully migrating from a legacy ‘Bricks-n-Mortar’ business to operating an online store is the creation of new customer IDs/Names. Over the course of time, customer IDs may have been created without utilizing any standard naming convention.  When the prospect of integration is delved into more deeply, the process of reconciling the automatic creation of new customer master records with the potentially 1000’s of bespoke customer IDs can appear intractable.

Jeff Lipton, owner of Bobalu Cigar Co., states “When my business first started 10+ years ago, we did not anticipate the technology of today.” The technology Lipton is referring to is essentially the eCommerce platforms of today that readily enable most any business to sell online. So, Lipton, and other likeminded business people, would simply create a slightly different customer ID for the 2nd “John Smith” that called to order their product.  The problem manifests itself deeply when subsequent IDs are created as “John Smith 2”, or “John Smith-3”, or “John A. Smith” …you get the point.
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