This is not another post about big data. This conversation is about the practical ways in which retailers can use data and analytics to build a relationship with today’s consumer.
Firstly, let’s identify the challenge. We as shoppers are now extremely fickle, driven of course by price – but equally by convenience and service. The customer is empowered by more information, advice and options.
And the solution? The usual approach is a loyalty scheme – rewarding customers for spending and for returning. The best of these programmes deliver personalised rewards, but many still focus on impersonal loyalty points awarded based on amount spent.
Even though technology and data have made it easier to create a loyalty programme, it seems harder than ever to generate loyalty. The key point is that loyalty is driven by much more than offers and discounts. It’s about delivering the perfect experience for the customer – and what customers want is convenience. So retailers need to make the shopper’s experience appropriate, and that often means simple and quick.
Advanced, invisible analytics whether predictive, real time or historical, have the power to help retailers deliver a more connected, personalised experience – that meets the needs of the modern shopper. And 2015 is set to be the year where the use of data and analytics in retail becomes more prolific. But for retailers to grasp the opportunity it often requires internal process changes and of course the inevitable technology investment.
Done correctly, that investment has serious potential for return.
But where is the right place to start? Well, as with all the best elements of retail, it has to start with the customer:
- 4 out of 5 customers use smartphones to shop
- 80% of smartphone owners want more mobile-optimised product information in-store
Guest Wi-Fi is the starting point, helping connect customers to key store data, allowing them to find the information they need to make an informed decision:
- 28% of retailers report increased customer loyalty due to in-store WiFi
- 34% of retailers are planning to updated their store level WiFi technologies during 2015
Understandably, many retailers hesitate to make it easier for customers to compare prices, the Amazon Flow app even allows shoppers to take a photo of an item in store – and see similar products available via Amazon. But, retailers can’t fight this trend. If customers can’t access the information they need to feel comfortable with a purchase – they’ll often walk away.
For this reason, we are seeing an upsurge in retailers adopting in-store customer shopping apps incorporating information, store maps and offers. Built on the Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth technology, indoor location technology and mobile store maps help shoppers to find items quickly.
But there’s another benefit for retailers, and that is the ability to collect data and map individual in-store journeys. This allows retailers to see something new – what the customer looked at, but didn’t buy. True customer level insight into every journey where customers opt-in.
Through this retailers can start to develop bespoke promotions to individuals based on who they are, what they are interested in, their location in store and more importantly, at the point of decision. It also gives retailers a view of behavioural trends – and the chance to respond through the flow of the store.
These location-based technologies help shoppers find the right product and give retailers the insight to continually improve the customer experience.
And making the customer’s journey easier, is the key to creating the extra interactions and customer engagement required to build a relationship.