Retailers collect massive amounts of customer data from POS transactions, loyalty programs, social media, call center records, geolocation and online searches and sales. Now what? In order to turn a higher profit retailers must be able to use that data to refine pricing, anticipate demand, personalize marketing and optimize supply chain.
Part of the challenge for retailers is connecting the data from in-store shoppers (POS and loyalty programs) and from online and mobile shoppers (email addresses, cookies and credit card information) and capturing what is trending on social media.
Information deepens the retailer’s understanding of customer preferences and accurately identifies shopping patterns. By leveraging analytics tools, retailers can boost customer loyalty and create a personalized shopping experience that customizes offers to needs. Retailers can use these new insights to deliver a better shopping experience by:
- Delivering highly targeted, location-based promotions in real time
- Personalising product recommendations to online customers and on mobile devices in real-time
- Expanding loyalty programs beyond general discounts to create a personalized shopping experience that caters to individual customer needs
Improved Merchandising and Supply Chain
Data can also improve merchandising and supply chain. With better knowledge of competitive pricing and demand trends, retailers can:
- Initiate sales and promotions
- Predict optimal pricing
- Maintain a price leadership position by analyzing price and demand elasticity
- Select the right merchandise for each channel and fine-tune local assortment planning by drawing on insights from social media, market reports, internal ssles data and customer buying patterns
- Optimize inventory across multiple channels
Beacon technology tracks a customer’s path around a retail store by communicating with smartphone apps through a Bluetooth signal. Using beacons in retail has huge potential to capture data and influence sales. By tracking a customer’s path through the store, retailers can better position merchandise, identify areas in their stores that are difficult to navigate and identify what departments need more or fewer salespersons at particular times. By linking beacon and mobile coupons and loyalty apps retailers can integrate in store and online activity. Retailers can reward customers who opt-in to app-based beacon programs with coupons and special offers. Some examples of beacon triggered events are coupons sent to the customers mobile device when they hit the correct aisle or rewarding customers by sending offers or information simply by walking into the store.
Capturing the Buzz
Social media analytics tools help brands get a more complete picture of their online audience by monitoring and analyzing all of the conversations across social networks. These analytics tools help determine the conversion value of visitors from social sites and track how visitors from different social sites behave on your site. For example, Moz Analytics shows you how your social media standing affects your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts while the “Activity Stream” in Google Analytics shows in real time how people are talking about your site on social networks. This information can be used to:
- Predict trends and anticipate future demand
- Deliver targeted ads
- Determine where to focus marketing efforts
The true value of big data is the role it plays in developing an informed strategy that improves decision making, efficiency, and effectiveness for enterprise functions. Data in and of itself does you no good. Data illuminating the customer’s needs and wants must be analysed, evaluated and implemented into an actionable plan. Analytics tools help retailers predict trends, prepare for demand, pinpoint customers, optimize pricing and promotions and monitor results. Big data can and should be used to help retailers build smarter supply chains and optimize merchandising across a multi-channel retail operation.