As competition in the sector continues to increase, using retail data analytics to gain a clearer understanding of customers is crucial in 2019 for brands wanting a customer experience (CX) that truly differentiates them from their competitors.
“Retailers need to resolve to get to grips with data,” explains Mike Small, CEO for Sitel Group Americas. “2019 needs to be the year that CMOs start leveraging data analytics to really get closer to customers.”
Retailers have realized that their CX is now their brand experience — it’s what sets them apart from their competitors. Even during a record-breaking holiday season, the big winners were businesses delivering retail experiences, rather than just competitive pricing.
This recognition is elevating the CMO’s position within organizations to the point where he or she is now leading CX initiatives including retail data analytics.
“Marketers understand how to use individual channels and individual touch points to build campaigns that resonate with customers, and they are adept at brand promotion,” Small continues. “But without retail analytics solutions, they’ll never have a clear view of the customer and a clear understanding of individual personas — and they won’t be able to create personalized experiences.”
Data analytics in the retail industry is not a new concept. What is new is the amount of data available for generating insights.
“The companies, both big and small, that are exploiting it are realizing the benefits,” explains Cristopher Kuehl, VP of Analytics and Client Insights for Sitel Group. “IBM research shows that those retailers in the U.S. who are getting to grips with big data and analytics are reporting a competitive advantage.”
From contact center interactions to social media activity to website page impressions and traffic in physical stores, there has never been such an abundance of structured and unstructured data available to organizations. If treated properly it can give them a full view of their customer – their likes, dislikes and how best to approach them with offers or promotions.
A perfect example is the recommendation engine. By tracking customers’ purchase history, wish lists, reviews read or written and pages viewed, plus social media buzz, Amazon’s algorithm presents its customers with a list of product they might like – either on the website or via email. And according to McKinsey, this algorithm is responsible for over 35% of the company’s sales.
“With real-time data collection, any retail CMO can assess customer information and purchase history, previous interactions, brand sentiment and everything else they need to identify those who are most likely to spend more and those customers who are about to churn unless the company takes proactive measures,” says Small.
But the customer insights needed to boost sales are just the start. Data analytics can improve the view and understanding of every element of an organization.
“It will feed into and inform your marketing and publicity – significantly boosting effectiveness and streamlining your supply chain and logistics operations,” says Kuehl. “Knowing what people want and what they respond to makes it easy to get your product mix and inventory levels just right; while for those retailers with physical and digital storefronts, it will help dictate store layout and experience and ensure optimum channel alignment – everything they need to stand out from the competition.”
However, without the right tools and the access to data analytics that can stitch together structured and unstructured data for clearer insights, an organization cannot have a complete picture of their customers or become proactive to their needs.
With real-time speech analytics, retailers can extract valuable insights from every single contact center interaction from phone calls to live chat. Not only does this automate Quality Assurance, it also offers a live feed of customer emotion and the opportunity to constantly enhance contact center agent training to address any weaknesses.
“Being able to pull this sort of big data into your business and to combine it with your other data sources leads to greater and greater insights,” explains Small “And crucially, it’s making use of existing data rather than by asking customers to share even more personal information in order to obtain a clearer view. But that view will only be completely clear if you know how to look at all of that data from the customer’s perspective.”
This is why Sitel Group has a dedicated business unit devoted to partnering with clients to ensure this valuable business resource is never wasted. From extracting and preparing data – both structured and unstructured – to visualizing business insights and developing analytics models for helping in the delivery of a proactive CX, we help organizations to seize opportunities that data analytics in the retail industry provide for getting even closer to their customers in 2019 and beyond.