Drones flying in the skies to deliver packages to customers, is how technology based on data and analytics is likely to impact retail industry and consumers both – in near future. New ways and means of understanding the customers are emerging and both, online and offline retailers are embracing this data first strategy. These retailers are trying their level best to match customers to products and services.
Retail is increasingly becoming a data driven business and is going digital creating many more data capture opportunities. With every click, tap or touch, every swipe, search or share – consumers are creating information.
Compiling and storing zettabytes of information on products, sales, prices, promotions, and consumers was one of the primary challenges for these retailers. With advent in technology and digitization, it has been addressed to – well. However; extracting insights through analytics from the data collected that enables retailers to understand current, latent and future behavior and trends in the market is still looming large on the industry. This is an effort to portray how data analytics is revolutionizing the customer experience in retail landscape.
Retailers are aware that cross channel data volume is growing leaps and bounds. Increasing use of social media and mobiles and tablets has ramped up the amount, type and availability of customer data. Now retailers are aware of the purchase history, mobile/social interactions, supply chain data, call center interactions etc. The complete volume of information available to retailers is extraordinary, even brands that have years of experience analyzing customer data, are not left out at leveraging the benefits of this data.
It’s all about granular customer data
Market research for business and market intelligence and identification of customer trends is not a new thing for retailers. But the new thing that has been taking turns big time is granular customer data. Data collected and processed and analyzed appropriately has helped retailers provide the right kind of products to targeted customers and that too exactly at the right time or moment. Brick and mortar retailers have started banking big time on “real behavioral data”. It is an assortment of data about foot traffic, facial expressions and reactions and body language captured while customers are interacting with the product, which then is analyzed for insights.
Business intelligence clubbed with analytics has made these types of analytics possible, and are likely to get more and more specific with advent in technology. The best part is that benefits of “real behavioral data” is not limited to brick and mortar retailers. Online retailers, with help of focus groups, have leveraged this technology and successfully culling out more affluent data, if compared to conventional questionnaires.
On one hand, where behavioral data is still developing to its fullest, retailers are all set to exploit it further for deeper insights into customer decisions. Keeping up with customers interest and expectations is what is the need of the hour, and business intelligence and analytics solutions providers are all geared up to deliver new opportunities of exploring data driven-strategies.
Think of customer experiences like a video game
Conventional loyalty programs, flash sales, reward cards etc., though were the stepping stones for what we call today the hybrid customer journey; are old school. The retail world has moved miles ahead of it, where they have been replaced with notifications that are constantly keeping the customers engaged. Retailers know the importance of engagement for sure and hence are giving a serious though to customer’s retail experience, may it be in a physical store or on a website.
Retailers in order to keep the customer journey really engaging should develop solutions to deliver experience like a video game, where their customers should encounter goals, levels, checkpoints etc. All these should provide different rewards and statuses, and it is only the customer data analytics that can help them determine which of the aspects are fit to provide the best results. Serious consideration needs to be given to the fact that the experience has to be a digitized one, especially for retailers in the brick and mortar arena. Apps and websites are powerful enough only to pull in more and more customers; however the smartness lies in the fact that retailers willingly invest time and dollars in strong analytics that can lay foundation for long lasting development.
Engage customers rather than targeting them
Up till now retailers reading this would have realized that the entire landscape is evolving at a speed that needs to be matched at any cost, in order to thrive and survive. Alike flash sales in conventional retail methods, targeting customers in mobile environment is also under scanner – though it emerged in recent past. Yes, retailers to succeed are increasingly using analytics to make sure their stocks, services and of course the atmosphere is apt enough to engage their customers.
The new and proven trend is of focusing on providing exciting experiences to all the customers, instead of spending time on assessing which customers are a perfect match for the latest products or services or discounts that a retailer has to offer. Analysis of customer data gives retailers the insights as to which are the elements that keep customers shopping, or engaged as we may say. It also allows these retailers to get rid of elements that are potent enough to turn them away. Assuming what experience a customer is looking for – no more works; instead retailers have started optimizing their journey with help of rich analytical insights that business intelligence experts provide.
Data analytics to uberize
No doubts retailers are leveraging customer data analytics and reaping benefits as well. They are using their data to reach out to customers through correct channels and with messages that keep highly targeted audience – engaged. On one side where there are retailers who are benefiting of the activity, there are a whole lot of retailers who are failing miserably at doing so. This usually is due to their dependency on siloed data and unprocessed information, lack of involvement of data experts; and lack of retailers’ faith & understanding of analytics as a savior. In absence of advanced technology, digitization of data and evolved thought process, for them to gain expert support to jump on to tends and insights as suggested by customer journey analytics – is nearly impossible.
Retailers are required to look beyond the forecasting data, based purely on historical decisions. Now is the time they should be adapting to concurrent market dynamics and use real-time data as a lethal weapon. Leveraging analytics solutions, retailers can smartly determine the most desirable and profitable experience for their customers, may it be products, prices, promotions etc. That is what customers are looking for, and this is the time to deliver.