Every retailer understands importance of data, from small retailer saving the loyalists on an excel sheet to large brands ensuring robust IT systems & CRM to take care of same. Still data can’t only save retail stores. In a recent news from Australia as shared by Peter James Ryan on insideretail.com.au that big departmental stores who are sitting on Big Data were unable to hold on declining sales & shrinking margins.

When the world of retail is constantly bombarded with claims that data is what drives success. So he questions How Myer ? – between Flybuys and the Myer One card database – sits on one of the world’s richest sources of big data, fails to compete with retailers that have – in some instances – none.

Peter Says ” Data can only record outcomes. It cannot tell you why and data can be misleading.”

I agree with how retail data is progressively moving, it is dumbing the shopping experience down to commonality and depending more on technologists and financial modellers. One needs to be very clear that technology is an enabler whose outcomes must be owned rather than output. In my book  Footfall.in – Know Your Smart Shopper, I have mentioned about creating unified view of customer starting from his first visit to multiple interactions over longer period of time.

Big question stands still in the mid of discount & sale war that how will this be possible ?

When one side of world reports crisis at the same time Amazon’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of Whole Foods has been hailed as the arrival of a retail convergence between ecommerce and brick and mortar retail.  With established etailers the understanding of consumer behaviour is far more easy than an established retailer thereby in future we may find more such M&A’s happening in favour of established etailers.

At the intersection of the online and physical worlds, the convergence is coming. So either you build it or you camp with someone is completely one’s choice. Players like Amazon know every movement we make on their sites—when we log in, what we search for, what we abandon and how we review products. This has allowed them to redefine the shopping experience by providing customized curated product lists, along with reviews, price options, easy purchasing, same-day shipping and simple returns.

  • In the store, shopper traffic and behavior data, captured by new sensing and pathing technologies, give brick-and-mortar retailers the same level of customer traffic intelligence as their ecommerce counterparts.
  • IoT devices sense in-store activity as it happens. This helps retailers see and address friction points – such as long checkout lines and spaces with high dwell times but low conversion.
  • Richer consumer data is enabling new measurement models that provide closed-loop shopper analysis from intent to purchase.

The story is incomplete without address a basic & important question : “what does that customer really want?”.

They want understanding and a frictionless experience. How do we get there? Data—in the store, out of the store, and overall measurement—helps answer that question and creates the revolution. Retailers need to exercise a bit of technology everyday to make sure they are ready for big change & adapt that fast too.

Do smaller exercise like what could be next logical purchase of my existing customer & do some predictive analysis. Though there are players like IBM Watson who can extract such information over a click of a button but I recommend that do it yourself.

Conclusion : Data needs to be delivered as actionable task to the last contact point of retail where sales is suppose to be concluded. I am referring to empowerment of store manager who can at-least greet a store walk-in.

#Data #NewOil #Store #FutureRetail #360Degree #CustomerView

PS: We consult retail brands & shopping malls for building meaningful insights over historical & real-time data. Drop in mail at yogesh@swaransoft.com for more information.