Last week, my colleague, Randy Dunn, published an interesting article on how brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage technology to gather shopper data and learn more about buyer behavior in RIS News. The timely and informative article — titled, “Elevating Retailers’ Bottom Line with Analytics” — is reprinted below in its entirety.
Elevating Retailers’ Bottom Line with Analytics
E-commerce retailers have an advantage when it comes to customer insights. They know when customers are shopping and for what products. They know when an item is left in an online shopping cart and when an order is finally placed. Compared to traditional brick and mortar retailers, who have to deal with the unique challenges of foot traffic, on-site inventory and in-person customer service needs, e-commerce retailers will have the data available to provide personalized customer content and actionable insights to improve the shopper experience. However, with the convergence of the physical and digital shopping environment, it’s about time that analytics had a larger role in store operations.
Having actionable shopper, inventory and shrink data allows retailers to better understand and anticipate shopper behavior; inventory and availability; and associate productivity and prioritization. Inventory accuracy and insight ensures the right products are available at the right time and place, helping retailers plan for successful omni-channel retailing throughout the year.
Most physical retailers are required to follow a fixed – sometimes strict – budget. Retailers should take a two-pronged approach to analytics and think strategically to not only deliver near term, but also build a foundation to solve “the next business problem.”
Where to Start – What’s the Business Value?
Just like anything else in retail, navigating analytics requirements needs to be driven by adding business value. All technology decisions should be funneled through a lens of strategic capabilities, taking into account retailers’ current and future challenges. Many retailers turn to analytics for added insights into their business, and to make more informed, data-driven decisions across the retail enterprise to improve revenue, profitability and shopper experience.
Looking Forward – Understanding Future Challenges
Retailers can’t manage what they can’t measure. It’s crucial for retailers to collect data that can be analyzed to more accurately manage and measure store operations. To do this, retailers should create a set of analytics that will help them moving forward:
1. Determine key drivers for the brand
2. Analyze existing capabilities to determine what tools and work flows will need to build upon, in order to establish a framework of actionable data analytics to best manage opportunity
3. Anticipate what shoppers will demand in the future
Analytics Solutions – Focusing on an Area of Improvement and Opportunity
After determining what issues need to be addressed, retailers can look into the various analytics solutions in the marketplace, including the following:
Inventory Visibility: Today, consumers want to shop wherever, whenever and however they choose. So retailers need to provide complex multi-channel fulfillment options, and enterprise-wide inventory visibility and access is a foundational mandate to achieve omnichannel excellence. RFID inventory intelligence solutions provide inventory visibility to help dramatically improve accuracy up to 99 percent to drive retail operational improvements, revenue and create a superior customer experience.
Loss Prevention: Loss prevention enables better shrink management with enhanced visibility into loss events and fraudulent activity, and leaner store operations through cost savings from reduced theft. Today’s solutions are scalable and modular to provide benefits to store operations beyond loss prevention and security, enabling retailers to secure assets, improve customer loyalty and increase profitability.
Shopper Analytics: With knowledge of customer insights and shopping behavior, retailers are better able to personalize recommendations and build stronger relationships with loyal customers, making their shopping experience easier and in turn, increasing the chance they’ll shop in-store again. Additionally, retailers will be able to improve customer traffic visibility and store associates can offer a continuity that is severely lacking in most retailers’ customer experience.
Customer Experience – Bringing it all together
Collecting, visualizing and acting on data can bring better insights to deliver an omnichannel shopping experience. By using analytics to better understand customer values and shopper behavior, retailers can prioritize projects more accurately and more efficiently to ensure they have the right inventory, personnel and operations in place to solve “the next business problem.” By implementing smart analytics to create personalized shopper experiences and enriched store operations, brick and mortar retailers will solve unique challenges related to shopper traffic, inventory management, and customer service year-round.
A version of this article was originally published by Randy Dunn, of Tyco Retail Solutions, in RIS News.
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