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Saving Customer Paint Data Can Drive Repeat Business


By Industry Professionals

Jason Loehr, Global Product Manager, Datacolor


The retail paint industry is evolving, but one thing that has remained unchanged is the importance of accuracy. Providing customers with the correct formula during their first visit is critical, however the significance of accuracy doesn’t stop after that.

The retail paint industry—and every other industry—values loyal repeat customers and strives to keep them happy. Yet, we see across the entire retail paint industry the common mistake of not digitally storing customer paint formulas. This negatively impacts customer satisfaction—perhaps even turning them away from return visits.

As technology within the industry improves, many retail paint stores continue to overlook the importance of digitally saving paint formulas and the majority of retailers choose to forego storing any type of formula information for their customers altogether. But storing these paint formulas can be easy, especially for retailers that are already using color matching software. Despite how useful this feature can be, we’ve found that many paint stores aren’t using it yet.

scanrail / Getty Images

The retail paint industry—and every other industry—values loyal repeat customers and strives to keep them happy. Yet, we see across the entire retail paint industry the common mistake of not digitally storing customer paint formulas.

Saving customer formulas can have a major impact on customer satisfaction and overall business performance. Although some retailers still prefer to store formulas and customer information on handwritten index cards, this method can lead to pitfalls that can easily be avoided by utilizing a digital system. A digital system can help paint retailers positively impact their business in a variety of ways:

Make Informed Recommendations

Index card file systems do not allow retailers to make informed recommendations about coordinating and contrasting paint colors. Consider these three scenarios:

  • If a customer returns to a paint retailer searching for the perfect color for a bold statement door to match their walls, but their information isn’t digitally stored, it is difficult to accurately match previously purchased paint to a new coordinating color.
  • When a customer paints the walls, chances are he or she is not going to remember the exact color or brand of paint when in need of a touch up months or years later. However, if the paint data is stored, he or she doesn’t need to. 
  • If the customer chooses to come back to the same store or a store within the company network where the original paint was purchased and if the retailer is digitally storing formulas, it is a quick and easy process to dispense the same exact color they previously purchased. Digital systems also support the ability to reformulate a color into different sheens or products per customer requests.

Streamline Your Paint Department

Digitally saving paint formulas not only benefits your customers, but it also helps streamline your entire paint department. By saving a customer’s formula, anyone within a company can easily redispense the same formula over and over, cutting down on time and unnecessary business costs associated with mis-tints and simplifying the entire paint dispensing process for employees.

Improve Organization

Careless mistakes that come with the use of index cards, like a misplaced card or illegible handwriting, can be completely avoided by moving information to a digital source. Paint retailers will never lose a customer formula again.

Making the switch to a digital system is simple, as the majority of the industry is shifting to automatic dispensers. These dispensers already have the capability to digitally store customer formulas and allow paint retailers to search customer files for any color, between any time period, at no extra cost.

The goal of almost every business is to put the customer first. Digitally saving formulas allows paint retailers to dispense color quickly, efficiently and accurately—providing better customer service that keeps bringing them back again and again.


About the Author

Jason Loehr is a Global Product Manager for Datacolor. Jason works with some of the top retail paint companies in the world and his career at Datacolor has spanned more than two decades. Datacolor is a global leader in color management solutions and provides software, instruments and services to assure accurate color of materials, products and images. Leading brands, manufacturers and creative professionals have used Datacolor’s solutions to consistently achieve the right color for more than 45 years. Industries served include textile and apparel, paint and coatings, automotive and plastics, as well as photography, design and videography. For more information, visit 


Industry Professionals

In this occasional blog series, professionals and members of various industry organizations and associations speak on events or issues facing the industry.



Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Associations; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Good Technical Practice; Latin America; North America; Color; Color + Design; Color guides; Color matching; Color selection; Commercial / Architectural; Consumer Reports; Retail

Comment from john schultz, (8/2/2019, 8:48 AM)

I disagree with you about card files. We have both a card file system and digital storage. The digital storage is helpful for a quick lookup and dispense but I disagree that they do not help with color choice recommendation. Many of our colors are matched to some existing surface and do not have a special prescription color name/number where you can show the customer their color. Our card file has a record of the product, formula and a swatch of the actual paint. This preserved color can be very helpful because many customers are visually oriented and when presented with their file, can quickly pick out the colors of their home faster than translating stock codes and formula gibberish. The actual color swatch from the paint can be compared to fan decks or walked over to the wall of strip chips for comparison. Even if we somehow scanned the color into a tablet, digital colors on a monitor are not the same. Beyond that, the paint sample on the card has provides a double check to the store and the customer when new product is mixed or when multiple cans are mixed and each gets a dot on the card. I can't show a customer a digital file and have them accept beyond a reasonable doubt that the color was made right, but I can with a card from our file. I'm not giving up digital file storage but there are a lot of good reasons to keep a card file

Comment from John Charles, (1/5/2022, 2:06 PM)

The issue I have with digital color files is the fact that I am not quite sure if the monitor is affecting the true color that I am looking at. Is there a way to prevent this issue. Such as setting on the monitor.

Comment from Kate Laurence, (7/20/2023, 4:08 AM)

Thank you for sharing this insightful post! Saving customer paint formulas digitally is indeed crucial for the retail paint industry's success. It not only ensures accuracy during the first visit but also fosters customer loyalty and repeat business. Utilizing a digital system allows retailers to make informed color recommendations, making it easier for customers to find coordinating paint colors or obtain touch-ups in the future. Additionally, it streamlines the paint department, reducing time and costs associated with mis-tints and simplifying the dispensing process. Overall, digitally storing paint formulas enhances customer satisfaction and helps businesses thrive. South Asian Civil Ceremonies

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