One of the major roadblocks inhibiting retail marketers from winning with data is the misconception that more complex data sets deliver more value. Many are easily thrown off course, spending valuable time, energy and resources to extract insights from obscure, complex or unproven queries, while much more telling information lays right within reach. By avoiding these common data detours, retailers can focus their attention on actionable data that brings customers across the finish line:
In 2014, retailers will finally have a "it's not who you are in the inside, it's what you do that counts" moment regarding buzzy phrases like "omnichannel," "showrooming" and "big data." That is, retailers will intensively focus on how consumers interact with their brand in every way possible. As such, customer experience management (CXM) will move front and center in 2014, replacing omnichannel as the main driver for retailers. Expect customer-rich experiences anchoring retail goals throughout 2014.
The idea of "learning computers" that become smarter with more time and information used to be confined to the realm of sci-fi or the most cutting-edge technology projects. But fact has caught up with fiction; machine learning is transforming both large and small businesses that want to take advantage of reams of data at their disposal.
If the pundits are to be believed, big data is the retailer's nirvana, telling you the exact profile that will buy a specific product at a specific time of day through a specific channel at a specific price. There is, to be sure, more than a grain of truth in that, but the path from data collection to customer fulfillment is fraught with potential pitfalls. As anyone who has had experience with Google's AdWords’ algorithms can attest, one wrong assumption can easily send you wide enough of the target to lose tens of thousands of dollars in sales, which would be a huge setback for most retailers.
While "big data" is certainly a popular topic, retailers of all sizes struggle to understand exactly what big data is and how to use it to improve their bottom line. Many assume big data is a black box that churns out valuable insights that are then massaged into charts and graphs. Not so. Big data is a game changer that allows retailers to harness all accessible information on customer shopping behaviors and turn it into insight. However, in discussions with retailers, I've learned that many don't know how to get to these insights. This article won't solve your big data problems, but it will provide insight into how exactly merchants can look to big data for help.
Until now, larger, resource-rich retailers have had the upper hand over their smaller counterparts due to the millions of dollars they invest in people and the latest technologies to improve the shopping experience for consumers. After decades of limited access to critical tools and techniques, several new classes of technology have emerged, offering smaller retailers an opportunity to level the playing field against the Amazon.com's of the world.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of U.S. consumers will shop online this holiday season, up nearly 50 percent from last year. With that increase, the industry's leading trade group projects total holiday sales to reach upwards of $96 billion. Depending on how prepared you are, this either represents a huge opportunity or the potential for millions of dollars in lost revenue. Chances are that you've already been planning for the holiday surge for months, but if the holidays snuck up on you this year, here are five actionable tips you can leverage now to make sure you get a slice of the holiday shopping pie:
To help guide online retailers on their quest to make meaningful metrics less elusive, we've put together "A Merchant's Metrics Playbook" to guide the development of a forward-thinking strategy that takes into account the right metrics and methodologies for running your business.