With the impact of rapidly shifting technology on the retail trade, it’s vitally important for retailers to anticipate and adapt to customer needs — a task that’s impossible without a true understanding of who customers are, how they shop, and what they need. All of which require data to address. Read on for tips and tools retailers can use to organize customer data to survive (& thrive).
When harnessed correctly, data has the power to help retailers and eCommerce professionals anticipate customer needs and in some cases… create them. After all, you’ll not only impress your users by proactively solving their pain points, but you’ll subvert competitors waiting in the wings who are trying to prove their worth. In an era in which multiple online and offline retailers are struggling to define their roles, you’ll further positive relationships with your customers if you use cutting-edge data to give them what they want, when they want it.
Conversely, retailers that seem to be constantly playing catch-up in optimizing data are falling by the wayside. In fact, a recent worldwide survey determined retail and consumer companies are losing out on $345 billion a year in trade due to their lack of agility in personalized and relationship-based marketing.
“Economic and technological shifts have rewritten the shopping journey,” notes Michelle Evans in Forbes. “Instead of shifting into a defensive mode, retailers are going on the offense, using technology to entice customers to shop both online and in-store. The biggest issue holding back retailers is not the availability of technologies, but instead the inability to understand and adopt the ones that will further their brand ethos.”
Among tools that can help you better understand retail client needs are data orchestration solutions that efficiently pull cross-channel, holistic data on your customers and target market to better understand everyone’s behavior from a 360-degree perspective. For retailers with an in-store presence, data orchestration can go as far as layering information about a user’s shopping habits (times visited, sites browsed in-store) with the data you’ve collected on them online using audience ID tracking. This tool, in particular, is invaluable in providing insight into your marketing strategy, personalizing, and customizing your campaigns at every turn.
Here’s what’s coming
The ability to nimbly change campaigns based on up-to-the-minute, multi-source customer data is about to become even more important. A few data-driven trends recently cited by the National Retail Federation and other sources:
- Incoming data will allow both online and brick-and-mortar retailers to change their prices hourly based on real-time competition, supply and demand, and other factors. In-store sensors will eventually make such dynamic pricing automatic.
- Augmented reality devices, such as mirrors showing how they’d look in various makeup colors, will create fun in-store experiences for customers.
- In many cases, checkout stations will be eliminated by digital technology that automatically records and charges for merchandise as customers exit stores.
- In researching potential purchases, customers will increasingly demand immediate info provided via packages, shelves, websites, text and/or voice.
- Consumers will increasingly shop via Instagram and other social media.
Talk to Lineate for more advice on installing technology that can better inform your retail marketing campaigns.