Working in retail is not that different than working as a mind reader. Retail workers have to anticipate the wants, needs, preferences, and particulars of everyone who walks into the store. Then they must use that knowledge to deliver a seamless and stellar experience. It’s not easy, and retail workers don’t get enough credit for the hard work it takes to operate on the front lines of commerce.
The good news for retail workers and retail executives alike is that consumers are becoming a lot less mysterious. Retail analytics empowers merchants to calculate what users want instead of guessing. Customer data is collected from as many touch-points as possible. It’s then analyzed to learn objective insights about segments of customers or even individuals. And thanks to those insights, every future interaction is more seamless and successful.
It probably comes as no surprise that better customer insights lead to higher sales figures. In the case of retail analytics, however, those insights are broad and deep. Just consider some real-world examples of how retail employees are using analytics in exciting and innovative ways.
Nordstrom – Tracking Pintrest Enthusiasm
Fashion retail Nordstrom tracks Pinterest to learn which products are getting the most traffic and pins. The retailer then uses that data to promote specific products on social media. Instead of trying to guess which products are appealing and attractive to customers, marketers already know. That leads to more effective marketing spending as well as higher sales figures.
Warby Parker – Extensive A/B Testing
Eyewear maker Warby Parker has found success both on and offline by relying on extensive A/B testing. Everything from marketing copy to coupon offers is tested in multiple formats. This process reveals which option is most appealing/successful before an ad campaign or product line is launched. Thanks to retail analytics, the brand understands what its customers actually want.
Walgreens – Emphasizing the Mobile Experience
Drugstore chain Walgreens has made its mobile app a central part of the shopping experience. Users can do everything from scheduling prescription refills to having digital photos physically printed. The ease-of-use of the app means that users spend more on mobile than they do in-store. It also means that more customer interactions take place in digital space. This is a huge advantage because digital behavior can be monitored and tracked for the purposes of retail analytics. Walgreens is learning important things about individuals each and every time they use the app.
Costco – Making the Most of Push Notifications
Big box retailer Costco is only open to members, which means that data from every purchase is tracked and stored. Costco uses this data for many things, but not always to drive sales. For instance, when one of Costco’s fruit suppliers announced a major recall, push notifications were sent to every customer who purchased that fruit. As a result, fewer people got sick and Costco came across as a conscientious company.
Every sales professional is looking for an edge, and retail analytics presents an unprecedented one. The applications are endless for retailers who embrace data and all that is has to offer. The question facing these retailers is simple: Continue to think of shoppers as anonymous consumers or treat them like unique individuals instead.
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