Jeanne Harris, co-author of go-to business reference “Competing on Analytics” (2007) said, “a lot of [brands] know their customers better than they did a decade ago. But they don’t know them nearly as well as they did 100 years ago. In some ways, analytics is a way to get back to the intimate knowledge that the typical retailer had before the invention of the automobile”.
Understanding your customers has always been Marketing 101 – but it’s often a complicated, expensive and time-consuming process. Thankfully, advances in technology have meant real-time reporting and superior customer demand analytics are now readily available through leading SaaS providers.
Invest in smart technologies
With the right technology, you can easily know all about your customers – who they are, what they want and where and how they like to shop. SaaS solutions for retailers can now save hours of development time and the ongoing costs of maintaining in-house built systems. For retailers, the challenge is choosing the right SaaS provider who’ll go above and beyond to service your business.
Getting the right technology can benefit everyone in the business, from those making strategic decisions at the top (like the CEO and CIO) to operational roles including Ecommerce Managers, Marketing Managers, Merchandise Planners, Allocation Analysts and Customer Service teams.
A survey conducted by Harris revealed that “nearly three-quarters of Executives would like to make decisions based on facts. But only 40% said they had made their last major decision based on facts. There’s a big gap between aspiration and reality.”
Go beyond simple data collection
With recent advancements in retail tech, Executives no longer need to rely on gut instinct to inform business decisions. Charged with creating “a unified commerce omnichannel approach” Head of Technology at T2 Tea, Ronan Penman, chose to onboard stockinstore®’s Find In Store solution for the brand’s website in 2019.
The SaaS provider’s powerful reporting suite has provided him with the insights he’d been looking for. “Obviously we can work off what we sell. It’s always what you don’t sell that you never know. So this (kind of technology) gives you the ‘air-gap’ of what occurs that no-one really knows about.”
Penman is looking forward to a new year with new insights, unlike anything the company has seen before. Planners and Merchandisers “always go off gut-instinct or feedback from the store managers but this year we’ll actually have statistics to support it.”
Customers talk. So does the data
We all know getting the right product in front of the right customer at the right time is the key to success, but it’s not always easy or straightforward.
By knowing your customer product demand by location you can ensure stock is where it needs to be and when. Lost Sales Reports help you understand your customers better and predict their wants and needs. Reports on Inventory and Merchandise Planning based on real-time customer demand can reduce over-stocks and maximise your seasonal selling opportunities. And if you’re keen to report on the effectiveness of your Marketing campaign in-store, leading SaaS providers have thought of that too.
Smart technologies = more personal service
Your customers’ clicks, calls and taps are already telling you exactly what they want, how, when and where they want to shop. The key is how you capture and, more importantly, utilise that data to offer a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
With find in store solutions and real-time customer demand analytics reports, you’ll find that every touch-point is an opportunity to understand, delight and strengthen relationships with your customers.
A solution for the future
As we enter the new decade, brands that do not invest in the right retail tech solutions to improve their customers’ online and in-store experiences are at risk of being left behind. Harris is firm on this point. “Every organization has unique information which can be potentially game-changing.”
With customer expectations continually evolving and competitors always hot on your heels; if you innovate and deep-dive into customer demand data it’ll certainly help your business thrive in the uncertainty of today’s climate