Overcoming the data deluge: 3 steps for retailers to cut through the noise and drive success

Overcoming-the-data-deluge

 

 

Retailers of a certain age will be able to cast their minds back to the 1990s, when they didn’t need to look much further than the trusted combo of a ‘POS’ and supply chain management tool. A lot has changed in the decades that have passed since: an ever-increasing amount of functions are running in the back end, so a typical retailer now uses a multitude of systems, including marketing systems, communications, RFID, ECMS, ESS, IMS, ICMS, DSS, WMS and many others. There’s been talk of Big Data across multiple business sectors in recent years, and retail is clearly an area where vast amounts of it have been created.

The growing amount of systems are the cogs that have made the wheels of the omnichannel retail explosion turn; however, for all the benefits they bring, it can prove easier said than done to manage all of them in tandem before you even start thinking about the impact the data generated can have on wider performance.

Put simply, failing to put that data to use means retailers are missing out. As the amount of data has grown, businesses have begun to offer to run analyses for retailers, using data to feed into decision-making, or even predict which American malls might be set to close. Specialist data analyst firms can certainly bring value, but it’s also crucial that as a bare minimum, retailers are on top of their own data, and able to put it to use themselves. Here are three steps retailers can take to ensure they overcome the data deluge:

 

1. Eliminate siloes

The first step is to make sure all the information generated by the various systems they use is fed back into the wider organization. Without this, the data points gathered will only benefit one isolated part of the organization, and will not be able to inform wider analyses.

Not all retail systems will be built with this in mind, so retailers should not just assume that everything will already be interconnected. They could even consider it as a potential selling point of new retail systems that are brought into the business in the future.

 

2. Get a holistic view

Once the data points have been connected, retailers need to ensure they are able to look over them from a top level, so they can see the bigger picture. This means having a system in place that allows them to plug all the data insights into one central pane.

This will put them in a position to make sense of it all, whether that’s for a quarterly update meeting with board members, or a luxury retailer being able to check all channels and locations for a specific item, so that it can be supplied to a high-net-worth customer at the drop of a hat.

 

3. Cast a critical eye

The final and most important step is for retailers to start drawing insight from what the consolidated data points are telling them. This is process turns ‘Big Data’ into ‘Smart Data’. For this to work, retailers must look to use the data to help draw an accurate picture of exactly what has been going on, what’s happening right now, and future trends.

 

 

Driving progress

Having taken these three steps, retailers can cut through the noise and be clear on exactly what the data points are that they have access to, and start to think about what they mean. Most serious retailers already have years’ worth of data to begin this process. Learning can come from customer data and their purchasing history, inventory data, vendor performance and brand preferences which then in turn can be used to feed marketing, clienteling and inventory management decisions. Then retailers can think increasingly smarter about the trends and opportunities that will drive future successes. Then they will be able to manage that knowledge in the longer-term, putting them in a great position to be confident they know what their customers want, and satisfy their needs.

 

 

3 Ways To Get Personalization Right

 

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Today’s shoppers have immediate access to product information at their fingertips.

Competition is plentiful and fierce, so retailers must differentiate themselves to be top-of-mind.

To be that “go-to” store, retailers increasingly must create personalized experiences that appeal to an individual’s desire to be valued and sought-after.

Retailers must leverage the customer data they have — or should have — to create that unique environment.

Intelligence on customer preferences and their interactions must be accessible and actionable; in other words, if you have information, use it. Analyze it.

And interpret it through the prism of providing a top-notch retail experience.

Why? Because it’s profitable.

Customers report that meaningful personalization does increase spending.

Retailers using personalization strategies experience revenue gains of six to 10 percent, a rate two to three times greater than other retailers, Boston Consulting Group research reports.

 

Here are three ways to get personalization right:

 

1.  Create personalized marketing campaign around product usage

Consider how your products or store can help customers achieve their goals.

The data that helps you determine which products customers may be interested in will also help you figure out why they need those items.

That knowledge will help you craft an individual message to every shopper.

Sometimes a group message is appropriate, but most often, the more you treat your customer as an individual with unique needs, the better you can illustrate your brand’s respect for individual customers.

 

2. Use detailed customer data to meaningfully personalize teasers, promotions and discounts

Communicate through data-driven email.

Personalizing messages requires email segmentation, analyzing customer data and creating a 360-degree customer view from a centralized database.

However, although email list segmentation has proven to lead to higher sales rates, half of marketers surveyed by Tune said they are not segmenting their email lists and less than nine percent of marketers said they aggregate their data within a single system of record.

Targeted email marketing is very successful; 47 percent of marketers told Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report that email generates the most ROI for their organizations.

To take full advantage of email’s potential, retailers can send personalized teasers, promotions and discounts to loyal shoppers as well as prospects, in addition to those who’ve abandoned their shopping carts.

 

3. Engage consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences with push notifications

Text notifications can push shoppers through your door.

Research has found that 57 percent of shoppers spent more money at a retailer after receiving a notification.

An even more impressive figure is that 68 percent of consumers reported an impulse buy after receiving a notification.

Sending push notifications effectively helps boost sales by engaging consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences.

 

 

Ready for Black Friday? How Retailers are Customer-izing Themselves this Holiday Season

 

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Holiday shoppers will be headed out to the malls and Main Street this year.

They might also be shopping online, but the foot traffic is music to most retailers’ ears.

According to a study by Natural Insight, 87% of shoppers are planning to hit the road and shop. That number is spread out among younger shoppers, age 18 to 29, as well as older ones, age 45 to 59.

Once they’re in the store, the trick is to entice them to become customers.

Smart retailers will analyze customer data to pinpoint areas of differentiation. Providing a relevant, efficient customer experience is the end game. The trick is getting there.

Here are a few ways two big retailers are strategizing to make the most out of the most critical shopping time of the year.

 

Target

Target is striving to reignite its hip style image, while keeping products affordable.

 

Ship to Store

Target is offering its ship-from-store program at an additional 300 stores this holiday season.

The offering gets online orders to customers faster, and brings them into the store — where impulse shopping can drive up the total sale.

 

Reduce returns

Target’s GiftNow relieves some gift-giving anxiety.

A customer selects the GiftNow button when buying an item on Target.com.

The recipient receives the present as a digital gift box and has the option to accept, modify or pick an entirely different item.

In effect, the recipient can exchange the gift before ever receiving it. Less hassle for the recipient and less costly for Target.

 

Understanding demographics

Target has had success attracting families and Latinos with last year’s holiday campaign, but it didn’t connect with either young adults without children or empty nesters.

Some of the exclusive brands it plans to launch, including Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, a partnership with HGTV ties, and JoyLab, an atheleisure line, are geared toward appealing to that market.

 

Toys R Us

Success this holiday season is a life or death proposition for Toys R Us, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

 

Technology

The toy retailer is using augmented reality technology to transform its customer experience.

Customers – in particular, their children – use an app to view AR activities that implant computer-generated images on top of a real-world environment, a la Pokemon Go.

Shoppers are guided by flashing icons and stickers on the floor, and by pointing their mobile devices at shelf sign or floor decal, see a toy or activity come to life on the screen.

Each activity lets the player earn stars; as more stars are earned, more experiences are offered.

The idea is to offer shoppers a compelling customer experience so they  visit a store, rather than shop online.

The goal is to be a shopping destination where fun informs purchasing decisions.

 

Experiential retail

In addition, the retailer will open playrooms at many of its stores, where children can try out toys and demonstrations will be available.

That can go a long way in reversing a mindset of not wanting to shop with the kids who are frustrated at not being able to touch and play with toys on the shelf.

Instead, the strategy encourages bringing children and listening to their feedback.

 

Brick and mortars that understand their shoppers and formulate strategies specifically geared toward them will be best positioned this holiday season.

Those who continue with tired formulas that meet neither the needs nor the expectations of shoppers will lose out to online competitors, as well as to the brick and mortars that are evolving with their customers.

 

 

Mobile Wallets Drive Customer Loyalty

Mobile wallets are a great way to offer customers discounts and promotions as well as to make it easier for them to pay for purchases. Discounts, promotions and efficiency are all factors that drive loyalty. Mobile wallets offer advantages that encourage shoppers to visit often, and retailers that provide their own apps with built-in wallets find that loyalty increases.

Loyalty programs play a large role in mobile wallet adoption for retailers. For years, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have had successful loyalty programs that have helped them to acquire mobile wallet users. Such programs offer drink and food specials, which leave customers feeling valued and appreciated. That, in turn, has helped stores to grow traffic and conversion rates.

Ironically, while mobile wallets are growing in popularity with consumers, some merchants have been slow to adopt near-field communication (NFC) technology, and are underwhelmed by universal mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Still, in the United States alone, there are currently 2.5 million NFC payment terminals, and that number is poised to grow significantly.

Customers are letting their preferences for mobile wallets be known at the register. A 2016 Urban Airship study reported that 67 percent of consumers want loyalty functionality in mobile wallets. By leveraging loyalty programs with mobile payment options, company sales are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 68 percent, according to a report from BI Intelligence.

Universal wallet choices are plentiful, with digital wallet choices including Masterpass, Android Pay, Apple Passbook and Venmo. A new study from MasterCard found that social media users often mentioned that they’d like to store loyalty cards on their wallet and use their phone to pay for transit system fares. Customers want mobile wallets to be multi-functional and flexible. Apple Pay has integrated its solution into a few transit authorities in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Singapore, but availability is still minimal.

Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay support loyalty card integration in their mobile wallets, which could encourage habit formation, but many major retailers, such as Walmart and CVS, are waiting on loyalty or payments integration, hoping instead to boost adoption of their own wallets.

Regardless of whether the mobile wallet is universal or part of a store’s own app, integrated loyalty programs are a critical feature in consumers’ minds. The number of customers using smartphones to pay has steadily risen from six percent in 2014 to 17% in 2017. Furthermore, 44 percent of millennials responded to an AdWeek survey that they prefer using their mobile phones to cash when paying for small items.

Efficiency, coupled with special promos for mobile wallet users will certainly have a positive impact on boosting repeat business. Smart retailers will take seriously the need to implement and promote mobile payment options in order to satisfy customer desires.

 

3 Key Trends Driving Retail Innovation

 

As we enter the final quarter of 2017, let’s look at three major factors that will continue to be hot topics for leading retailers in 2018. In a world with increasing retail competition, innovation will be the key to success.

1. Data analytics will be used better to improve customer experience

 
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Sales information is a treasure trove of information. What’s hot, what’s not and what’s coming can all be derived from a deep dive into data. For example, Amazon will rely heavily on its expertise in data-driven customer service in its grocery business. The online powerhouse fundamentally manages operations differently from traditional retail supermarkets.

Namely, Amazon has always been customer-centric: It ranks products based on popularity, it encourages interactivity with reviews and is responsive to customer input. Most supermarkets focus on the products. Likewise, many retailers in a broad variety of specialties employ sophisticated category management practices but don’t have similar customer management programs.

2. Geolocation-based tools will make offers more relevant

 

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When retailers know where customers go to most frequently, where they linger – and where they avoid, the shopping experience can be made more intuitive. When the shopping experience is stress-free, customers are more likely to return. For example, $155 billion pharmacy chain CVS uses geolocation tools to target in-store customers with the CVS app with medication reminders and health alerts. Patients are actively encourage to manage their health through the CVS app.

3. Omnichannel synergy will help shoppers get more comfortable with the process

 

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Mobile sites reflect what is happening at the local brick and mortar location. Customers want a seamless experience. Many shoppers use multiple channels, sometimes starting online and picking up purchases in store, and other times starting in a brick and mortar store but finishing the transaction by paying via a mobile device. Whichever way they choose to shop, the process must be easy and familiar.

To this end, Best Buy has turned around impressively and is today considered a leader in connecting in-store and online experiences. It sees itself as a multichannel retailer, which offers its customers different opportunities to research, browse and buy products that best suit their lifestyles.

 

 

 

IoT Tech Helps Retail Make Customer Connections

The Internet of Things — the network of everyday devices that can be monitored and managed over the Internet – is steadily becoming a part of retail operations. Juniper Research forecasts that merchants will spend $2.5 billion on IoT technologies by 2020. The advantage?  Linking hardware such as RFID tags,beacons and connected consumer electronics — including wearables with software — analytics offers in-depth business insight and a more personalized customer experience.

Connecting with the IoT lets retailers analyze data that can help with inventory selection.

Connecting with the IoT lets retailers analyze data that can help with inventory selection.

IoT can help bring relevant technology directly to the customer. Wireless tablets let sales associates interact more closely with customers, checking inventory for the perfect color, correct size and brand, for instance. Increasingly, more stores are equipping sales staff with wireless tablets that can scan products and perform credit card transactions. More customers can be assisted on the sales floor without going to a front-line cash register. The IoT technology keeps track of pricing and inventory, applies discounts and sales, and items are logged immediately after the transaction is complete.

The IoT benefit doesn’t end after the sale is rung, either. The data gathered from a connected POS system to analyze customer buying trends can help retailers stock smart: According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers lose $224 billion because of excess inventory and $45 billion from not having inventory in stock. A good point-of-sale system can set an alert that informs retailers when a certain item should be reordered. And top-performing systems can tell you the most recent price the retailer paid the supplier, as well as the average price paid previously. Off-hours, a retailer can run reports on inventory activity for the day, week or month. For a holistic view, some POS systems can track inventory from year to year, so comparisons are quick and easily extrapolated.

The various data generated by IoT/POS transactions can provide new, valuable insights about customers, pricing, product sales trends and more. Analyzing each piece and making correlations can prove invaluable to retailers aiming to create lasting relationships with their shoppers.

 

All Things Retail Webcast: Multiple Languages and Currencies at the POS

Let’s face it – the world is still far from having a single world language.

Until then, retailers like you will likely use multiple languages and currencies in your stores across borders.

When investing in POS and retail management software, it’s important to consider whether your tech tools can support your company’s language and currency needs today and as you keep expanding globally.

In this episode of the All Things Retail webcast, you’ll hear how Retail Pro POS software’s language and currency capabilities provide greater flexibility and financial reporting ease for multi-geography implementations.

 

 

 

360° Customer View: Why Knowing Your Customer is Mission-Critical

 

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Retailers today need to know just about everything to stay ahead. Not only do they need to know who their customers are, but they need to know when they shop, how they shop, and what exactly they are shopping for. Understanding their customers and providing them with tailored experiences allows them to strengthen customer loyalty – a hallmark of greater revenue.
Historically, retailers based decisions on intuition, often planning campaigns around what they thought the customer wanted. Today, data and analytics has taken the place of these gut instincts, and retailers now have factual data observing patterns of behavior. Using in-store data such as past buying behavior can help retailers create targeted campaigns, and accurately cross sell and upsell.

Customer satisfaction is critical to business success. With so many options out there for customers, having accurate data about how to make customers happy is becoming increasingly important. Developing relationships with customers, and providing them with relevant promotions and discounts can help boost loyalty. Having the right tools in place to mine through data allows retailers to better understand where customers are in the purchase funnel and develop programs and offers to meet their needs.

Retail Pro International has written 360° Customer View- Why Knowing Your Customer is Mission Critical. This whitepaper provides insight into how data and analytics can help retailers create meaningful relationships with their customers. It outlines the importance of using data to drive sales by growing relationships, boosting retention and improving customer satisfaction.

Get the 360 Degree Customer View whitepaper today to discover how a 360° customer view can help you:

  • Improve campaign effectiveness with an omnichannel view
  • Create more up-sell and cross-sell opportunities with purchase history
  • Boost retention with relevant offers and special deals
  • Increase customer satisfaction — give shoppers what matters most

 

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3 Tips to Simplify Omnichannel

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More than ever before, today’s multi-channel retail environment is becoming increasingly faced with tougher competition and technology constraints. To add to the pile, the prevalence of online shopping means that growing retailers must also deal with changing buying behaviours and customer attitudes.
 
Customers expect to get product information, consider their options, and make their purchases with ease. They bounce between channels throughout their shopping journey, so they want an experience that is complete, seamless, convenient, engaging and consistent.
 
It’s a tall order, but one that needs to be filled. Otherwise, customers will find another retailer that will deliver exactly what they need. With all these challenges in play, how can you manage to concentrate on closing sales and driving profit for your business? The answer is, by creating and maintaining a consistent customer experience and across all sales channel.
 
Get the 3 Tips to Simplify Omnichannel whitepaper today to see three important questions to ask when you are evaluating and implementing an omnichannel strategy, and most importantly, how you can do it in a streamlined and efficient manner.
 

Get whitepaper

 

Introducing the new Retail Pro Webcast: All Things Retail

Have you wondered what will you gain by switching to the latest Retail Pro software?

Regardless if you have been a Retail Pro user for years or are a retailer looking to retire your other tools in favor of this world-class software to improve your operations – either way – our new webcast series was made just for you.

Every other week we will get together for a quick 5 minute chat on how your team can accomplish their daily retail operations more efficiently with powerful functionalities in the latest Retail Pro software.

  • Replenishment
  • Promotions
  • Orders
  • Disbursements
  • Customer management
  • Send Sale & Fulfillment
  • Open & Close Day Procedures
  • And many others….

Tune in to our Retail Pro YouTube channel, subscribe so you never miss a webcast, or just watch Episode 1 here today! First webcast is on Open Day procedure.