Retail has moved far beyond the cash register.
Shoppers are armed with mobile devices that allow them to research, find, compare and purchase what they want with alarming speed and efficiency, and retailers have more technology solutions than ever to accommodate these needs.
Employees on the showroom floor have the ability to assist consumers in dynamic new ways. As the adoption of new retail technologies increases, progressive business owners are wisely investing in solutions that help them achieve their most important outcome – improving the customer experience so they can boost customer loyalty and drive sales.
CDW surveyed line-of-business managers (LOB) from the retail industry to better understand how organizations are using technology to gain a competitive edge, finding that LOB managers who prioritize drawing intelligence from data are making strides ahead of their peers through innovative uses of technology.
Better Understand Your Customers
As retailers capture more information, data analytics and business intelligence represent a significant opportunity to help retailers better understand customers and their behavior to make real-time improvements. Among retailers with a mature technology strategy, the CDW Retail Market IT survey found that 33% of LOB managers – “Retail Innovators” – say drawing intelligence from data is their organization’s top priority.
These Retail Innovators are prioritizing analytics to gather data and draw meaningful insights from it, which in turn creates positive impacts on the customer experience and the bottom line. They see a direct correlation between seamless use of data and improved sales as well – 90% believe analytics have the ability to improve sales, and another 62% report they believe analytics can increase sales by more than 20%.
And while Retail Innovators use data analytics to drive sales, that’s not the only area where they see potential value. When asked how their organization could benefit from accessing and analyzing data to make real-time decisions, they said they believe it can increase customer loyalty (56%), improve the accuracy of sales forecasts (48%) and improve customer acquisition (47%).
Providing customers with a seamless and tailored experience is possible through leveraging real-time information to make the customer’s shopping experience relevant and instantly satisfying. Retailers may greet shoppers at the door to create the same experience in-store that they get online; however, that requires immediate access to the shopper’s history and interests combined with instant access to products, services and information that the customer is seeking in that moment. If retailers can’t access the information quickly enough, it loses value and fails to create an enhanced experience.
When it comes to quickly accessing data, Retail Innovators are way ahead of the curve, as more than two-thirds reported they can always translate data fast enough to make critical business decisions, according to the survey. Further, mobile access to that information also helps them make rapid, relevant decisions – 43% reported that they are able to access data in real time using mobile devices.
Despite the advantages, some hurdles remain – even among forward-looking retailers who report being frustrated that:
- Information is still outdated by the time it reaches business managers (44%)
- Information remains locked in silos (41%)
- Their organization continues to rely on IT to compile and analyze information (31%)
- Data isn’t available/accessible on mobile devices (29%)
- They have difficulty translating information into actionable insight (25%)
- They lack the systems to gather information (25%)
Retail Innovators see an opportunity to overcome these challenges by improving analytics tools, training and direct digital access for business managers to access critical information in order to connect the dots.
This article was written by Rajdeep Dutta, Head of Redwood Knowledge Centre.