Analytics - A Key Enabler In The Retail Revolution
Retail has been undergoing a massive transformation since the big wave of internet came into play and it’s been acceleratingever since. The advent of digital technology, social networks, analytics and new devices has led to an omnichannel revolution. This knowledge of what consumers want, is helping retailers present compelling opportunities for acute data analytics.
As retailers evolve in their omnichannel journey, analytics driven differentiations are key enablers to provide guests with relevant and personalized shopping experiences across physical, online and mobile channels.
Cross-Channel Consumer Behavior:
Consumers leverage multiple channels, often times simultaneously, in their purchasing decisions. They expect a seamless omnichannel experience that is intuitive and frictionless for product discovery, research, purchase, payment and post-purchase interactions. Therefore, a deeper understanding of cross-channel consumer behavior is critical for a retailer to have the right product, placement, price and promotion across multiple touch points – stores, online, mobile and social.
Dynamically matching consumers’ inherent preferences with their current intent is a key differentiator to personalize their shopping experience. Analytics driven personalization that has long been practiced in online retail is also becoming omnichannel. Stores are leveraging digital technologies like tablets and the expertise of their sales force to personalize shopper experiences. This allows for creating deep customer engagement by bringing together recommendation algorithms and human touch.
Such experiences are more powerful than traditional loyalty programs. Fresh ideas that integrate customer interests, shopping patterns, social circle and community involvement are becoming popular. For instance, Target’s Cartwheel app allows guests to personalize offers, invite Facebook friends, earn badges and easily redeem offers in stores through their smartphones.
Social connectivity is also fundamentally transforming how new products are designed, developed and marketed. Crowdsourcing fresh ideas, surveys, focus group meetings, social media comments or likes, retweets, online polls and video share are multiple ways customers offer feedback.
Convenience and speed are also differentiators. Shopping online is convenient, while picking up a product for immediate use means a visit to your nearby store. Now, Etailers are investing in local distribution and pick up facilities while omnichannel retailers are leveraging their stores as pick up points. Target Guests can pick up their online orders from stores for more than 60,000 items and we are piloting same day delivery by shipping from stores close by. Inventory visibility across the supply chain network and robust simulations optimize these strategies without increasing supply chain costs. Data visualization tools enable rapid troubleshooting by spotting bottlenecks and routing algorithms optimize transportation flow.
Internet of Things:
Sensors and connected technologies provide real time data for these supply chain decisions and are also useful in retail operation efficiencies. They are installed in lighting, refrigeration, weather detection and similar systems; data from these sensors are used to monitor breakdowns, remotely repair, predict failure points and optimize expenses like electricity. Software monitors or BOTs create similar efficiencies in online commerce.
In a dynamic retail environment, risk analytics capabilities are critical for success. On the other hand, staying current on evolving customer preferences and meeting their increasing expectation isalso challenging. Data products capture real-time information and can be used to offer personalized solutions.
Increasing consumer expectations are transforming the retail industry propelling new innovations in shopping experience, service, technology platforms and offerings. In this era of pervasive digitization and rapid novelty, data analytics provide companies with a significant competitive advantage. These are indeed exciting times in retail analytics!
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