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How Big Data Management and Analytics is changing the face of the Retail Industry

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Retailers can and do collect a wealth of data on their consumers, who in return for sharing their information, expect valuable experiences with the brand. The retailers who fully exploit this data to deploy consumer engagement programs would be the best ones to foster loyalty in this ultra-competitive era.

Customer interaction with the brand will always yield valuable data and insights into buying trends and will help predict a pattern that will aid in serving customers better. This is the key mantra for the retail business. How brands manage this data and use it to improve the customer experience is therefore the key to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the foundation of success and sustained longevity of any retail venture. Customer acquisition is surely important, however, the one thing that will really enhance profitability is repeat business. After all, customer satisfaction, customer delight and customer retention are the cornerstones of retail in the 21st century.

What’s in Big Data for Retailers? I have been the user of the same brand of shaving razor for over a decade now. But when I still walk into a store to purchase new blades, the product still calls out saying, “Hey, I am a great product. Buy me”, rather than a “Welcome back”. This needs to change for a brand to engage better with their target customers. And data has the potential to enable this change.

In addition to encouraging repeat business, retailer loyalty programs give companies access to lots of data, which the retailers can use for targeted and personalized marketing campaigns. When brands have these invaluable insights of when, what, why and how frequently a customer makes purchases, they can use it to analyze and predict several key parameters.

For instance, revenue trends throughout the year can help the retail stores predict the way the customer shops at different times of the year, helping them create special offers and packages to attract existing and potential clients. Customer Spending Analytics sheds light on the way a customer spends his/her money, helping retail to customize shopping packages to induce greater traffic and sales of a particular commodity or basket of commodities that they may be interested in. Analytics can further help customizing the entire shopping experience for a customer, through selective targeting, original and engaging content and a cohesive omni-channel experience, both online and offline. The objective of the exercise is primarily Customer Loyalty Identification and Reward that simply means acknowledging customers’ value to the brand and making them feel privileged. This of course translates in greater profitability and in the long run, more importantly a relationship with the customer.

What is the secret of successful data capture? Sure, it would be very convenient to have vital customer data and behavior patterns at one’s fingertips, but successful data capture is easier said than done. One needs to have the right data that is valuable in engaging the
Customers, than just having access to big data. The right data then needs to be incentivized for customers to feel that it is worth their while to share the information with their favorite brands.

Consumers are today interacting with the brand through various touch points like interaction at the stores, mobile, internet, emails, customer care, etc. Omni channel presence is invaluable for consistent data capture. Consumers today want to feel comfortable with the personalized stuff, whatever channels they are using to engage with the brand. Effective Customer loyalty programs also help foster lasting relationships with the customer and that is why they are so invaluable to the retail business.

The role of Big Data and Analytics in creating effective cross selling and promotions: Cross selling and promotions is a great way to maximize both the reach and profitability of the store. Big data plays a huge role in developing an effective cross selling and promotion platform. How this happens is quite interesting actually, when brands   have access to key parameters like customer demographics, preferences, shopping history and real time location, it becomes much simpler to place product, promote it and convert clients since retailers already know their customers’ background, where they are, what they prefer and of course, what they have already bought.

There’s an old adage, “knowledge is power”, and nowhere is it truer than in retail. Big data and analytics are the most potent weapons in the arsenal of the modern retailer and smart use of these powerful tools will definitely make a huge impact on the fortunes of the retail industry.
-Srikanth Chunduri, COO & C0-Founder, eMart Solutions, Loyalty and Consumer Engagement Company

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