The 3 I Mantra for New Age Retail

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The retail industry has been a trendsetter in adopting technology and digitization. As a result, the industry has been revolutionized by the disruptions caused due to the influence of advanced technologies. In fact, the evolution of the retail industry still continues as businesses and consumers collaborate over trade to further influence the need for progressive transformation.

As the power is now in the hands of the consumers, they are driving retail businesses to constantly strive towards not only focusing on the customer, but also conceptualizing and creating experiences that customers can relish and cherish. Be it brick-and-mortar or e-commerce retail companies, every business is looking to capture a large chunk of the customers’ attention and wallet. As a consequence, the competition has intensified leading to a situation where retailers have only one way out – perform or perish. In order to stay in the game, retailers must look at the 3 I mantra: integration, intelligence and innovation.

Integration: Today’s shoppers are not ordinary shoppers, they are a new breed of shoppers who demand convenience and want speed. Moreover, they want to be associated with retail brands that are tech savvy like them and have more than one channel for interacting and shopping. These new breed of shoppers are ‘omni-channel’ shoppers. Thus retailers need to integrate their channels, operations and processes to be able to provide that omni-channel shopping experience that can leave a mark on the customer.

Intelligence: Again drawing inspiration from the customers, retail businesses need to be ready and prepared for their customer who is equipped with information that allows them to make smart and better decisions. In order to better understand the customer, retail companies must capture as much data as possible about their customer and have the data about their product and service offerings along with the knowledge of their operations and processes. Having this comprehensive information, retail owners must derive the intelligence from the data and use it to enhance their business.

Innovation: Every modern day consumer is attracted to new advancements that happen in the market – be it products, services or offerings. The lesson to learn from this is that retail brands must constantly seek to innovate. They must always look out for new ways to create shopping experiences that are unique and innovative. Using innovation – right from production to packaging and marketing of the products, to sales and post sales services, throughout the entire shopping experience will definitely appeal to consumers and will make them crave for more.

Retail businesses seeking to do something new and unique in their space must equip their business with the right retail technology that enables integration, provides intelligence and aids innovation.

5 Questions – Before Investing In Retail Business Intelligence (BI)

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Big data eliminates the uncertainty out of the enterprise, provided the right software and tools are used to break it down into accessible bits of information. When deduced and used correctly, it helps retailers identify the pain and gain areas of business. It also provides actionable insights into customer behaviors, demographics, brand affinity and the ability to create targeted campaigns.

But will Big Data give you the right data? Ask the following before investing in retail BI solutions.

Who is your customer and how effectively can you reach out to him?
While Big Data can help you be more strategic in customer engagement, it is necessary to ascertain who your audience is and how will you reach out to them. Once you have understood this, you can allot the necessary KPIs to the data project and establish the foundation of success.

Does it provide the crucial 80/20 analytics?
Retailers and marketing teams understand the value of deriving the 80/20 analytics. On average, 20% of your customer generate 80% of your top-line revenue. So, while you might be able to acquire information on thousands of customers, it is more important to know your top customers. Understanding their traits and ticks would potentially surge revenue and recommendations both.

Do I have the employee strength to support it?
The influence of emergent technology permeates all industries. There is often high pressure and anxiety related to ‘Big Data’ adoption, as a business process. In the eagerness to obtain the latest technology software and application, retailers tend to miss the long-term requirements of the system. . The BI application phases are to be supported by people, within the organization, with the right skill set to derive value from the vast enterprise data and validate system results.

Do I have the company culture to sustain it?
Big Data technology wielded as a demonstration of competitive advantage will only take you so far. Deep and comprehensive planning is essential to understand the levels of analytics needed by the current and projected business scope.

Is it social?
Social media integration with the BI system is crucial to not just accumulate, but also to validate CRM data. It helps generate a community-based correlation and engagement with customers. Both business functions, BI and social media, feed information to each other. This helps you reach out to a bigger circle of potential prospects with targeted campaigns and communication.