Customer is key
Customers have a lot of options when it comes to retail. Not only are there numerous competitors on your average high street, but also online. How can high street retailers hope to compete with online stores, offering products available to be delivered the same day with huge choice?
Retailers need to look at customer experience. Excellent in-store experiences have been cited as one of the key influencers in enhancing customer loyalty, which is the lifeblood of any retail brand. The best way to achieve this is by helping customers feel like they are being treated like royalty; that the entire retail experience has been personalized to their exact needs and requirements. In the past this kind of service was only really feasible for high-end or luxury brands. Now, with the proper application of analytics, almost any retailer can provide a tailored service to almost any customer.
Stealing from the digital playbook
Online retailers have been providing personalized shopping experiences for years. Amazon, for example, will remember your previous purchases and where your most frequent order destinations are. It will make suggestions based not only on what you’re currently purchasing, but also on your shopping history from previous visits. The whole system is set up to make your shopping experience as efficient as possible, as well as encouraging you to make further purchases.
Pablo Picasso is widely quoted as saying “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” The same works for retail strategies. Stealing a few of the strategies used by online retailers is well within the realms of possibility for high street retailers, and they can actually go further than websites in the services they currently provide
Rewarding customer loyalties with tailored service
There are already systems similar to online retail’s membership accounts available to high street retailers. They have existed since before not only Amazon, but the world wide web as a whole. Loyalty schemes have been an accepted part of the UK retail landscape for over three decades (Guardian).
In the past, loyalty schemes have been used to apply blanket discounts. However, with predictive analytics, retailers can acquire data from a customer’s use of loyalty cards to offer specific, tailored offers, based on not only the individual customer’s purchasing habits, but also the habits of customers with similar tastes. Customers are far more likely to respond positively and utilize discounts that feel personal to them.
Effective and appropriate suggestions from staff have been shown to contribute towards a healthy customer experience, an idea that Stage, an American department store chain, has implemented into the repertoire of their sales associates through analytics (Forbes). Although there were concerns that customers might feel this process was intrusive, focus testing and in store performance provided a mainly positive response. Steve Hunter, CIO of Stage, stated that “[Customers] want our associates to be informed as to what they like, instead of offering an opinion out of the blue” (Forbes).
Sales associates can therefore attend to the customer’s individual needs and tastes.
Only the First Step
These are just some of the options currently being utilized by retailers. It’s likely we’ll see even more exciting opportunities and strategies emerge as technology advances and retailers allow themselves to be imaginative and experiment with different applications of analytics. Rather than being the death of high street retail, digital technology is in fact providing them with more and more tools to attract customers and provide an unprecedented level of service.
We’ve just published a whitepaper on how Predictive Analytics is changing the retail experience, download it here: http://www.c24.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/C24-Predictive-Analytics-in-Retail-Whitepaper.pdf
What’s in the whitepaper?
We look at how analytics is changing the traditional shopping experience – and how in-store operations are being integrated with online e-commerce practices.
Why should I read it?
If you want to stay up to date with how analytics, and more specifically predictive analytics is influencing the retail experience, then download the whitepaper today to find out more.
Why has C24 written this whitepaper?
C24 is heavily focussed on business analytics – we have a product called Bi24 which we deliver to businesses across the country, especially to the legal sector who use the analytics tool to better manage their operations. We also work heavily in the hospitality and retail sector, and see some of the technology coming down the line in the retail sector as a big opportunity for retailers looking to capitalise on big data within their organisations.