In Canada’s retail landscape competition comes from all directions as decades old brands that are household names compete with powerful new entities from south of the border. With increased competition as other retailers up their game, many companies now struggle to not only bring customers in the door, but also bring customers to their websites on desktops and mobile devices. For companies that fail to adapt, the threat is truly existential.

With the amount of data generated, savvy retailers who’ve invested in data analytics will be able to gain key competitive advantages. Analytics technology allows retailers to track and target everything from supply chain issues that ensure stores are stocked, to making sure marketing materials reach the right customers with the right deals at the right time – whether it’s browsing a website or a storefront in the mall. This means efficient inventory and personalized marketing to ensure the right customers get the right deals all year long.

Here are just a few of the ways analytics can help retailers compete:

Personalization is the new normal

Today’s savvy consumers know exactly what they want and they’re not afraid to tell retailers. This shift in how consumers interact with businesses has led to the expectation that retailers understand customers and are able to anticipate their needs. Luckily, smart retailers are now using analytics technology to target customers in a way that wouldn’t have been possible just a decade ago. Using data generated by mobile devices, online activity and previous purchases, analytics can turn a mountain of customer data into valuable—and deployable—information for targeted, personalized marketing.

Data from SAS reveals the power of making sure customers receive personalized deals when they matter: a recent survey found 58 per cent of respondents would be interested in receiving personalized promotions from nearby stores while shopping. This means that retailers who send offers to potential customers, in real time on mobile devices when they’re already at the mall, have a better chance of making a sale. But only stores using integrated data analytics technology will have the ability to know and react to customer proximity, turning a smartphone into an electronic personal shopper.

Talking and listening with social media

 

Social media channels have proved to be a rich data source for businesses. With the right analytics tools in place, retailers can extract solid social media data from the chatter happening online every day. Companies can now better understand customers and deliver deals via social media channels, while also gaining a real-time view of online sentiment. This is critically important in today’s competitive retail sector, as social media data analytics allows companies to understand exactly what customers are saying about them. This big picture view, created out of millions upon millions of online interactions and mentions every day, means retailers can understand where and how to focus their energies to improve the customer experience at all touch points.

 

An omnichannel approach

 

There are more channels, mediums, media and communications tools available today than in any other point in history. Social media, traditional media, advertising and public relations are all part of a marketing matrix that works best when each piece works together.

 

There is no longer a single channel for marketing. We live in an age in which the best, most effective, marketing is omnichannel marketing. But marketing across such a wide variety of platforms requires intelligent, integrated strategy built on a solid foundation of data-driven decision-making. Analytics allows companies to gain real-time, big picture view that incorporates the entire enterprise, from marketing to sales, HR, supply-chain and everywhere in between. This view of an organization empowers marketers to make the best use of their resources and take an omnichannel approach to reach the most customers every day.

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Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith is a Sr. Solutions Specialist currently employed in SAS Canada’s Retail Practice. In his current role, he is responsible for helping clients gain value from current and future investments in analytic retail technologies. Shawn has extensive knowledge and deep domain expertise in retail analytics and in devising and executing strategies to better understand shopper behaviour and Omni-channel evolution.

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