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Business Intelligence / Data / Analytics

In order to be successful in today’s omnichannel retail marketplace, merchants must collect information from numerous internal and external sources, then analyze that data. New solutions can help to optimize incoming data in order to deliver the business intelligence and analytics needed to move retail businesses successfully into the future. This section offers feature articles, special reports, industry viewpoints and the latest news to help retailers make sense out of the growing influx of information.

Study: Strategic Mindset, Embrace Of New Technology Separate Retail ‘Thrivers’ From ‘Survivors’

The difference between floundering retailers and those that are succeeding isn’t just a matter of sales — it’s also a matter of mindset. There is a clear strategic distinction between Thrivers, who are profitable and experiencing strong growth, and Survivors, who are stable but just breaking even. Retailers can learn what type of company they are — and how to move into the Thriver category — by studying how each group approaches problems, according to the 2019 BDO Retail Rationalized Survey.

Data Overload: Retailers Are Being Crippled By Huge Volumes Of Data

The conversation around data strategies erupted alongside the evolution of e-Commerce in the 1990s. Since then, businesses have continually tried to address data strategy gaps and challenges — with widely varying levels of success. As early as 2011, it was estimated that a retailer with a strong data-centric e-Commerce strategy could increase its operating margin by more than 60%. By 2015, data was well-established as a critical factor in e-Commerce success. Still, that year, only half of retailers were leveraging a data-centric e-Commerce approach. One-third felt they reaped no benefits from doing so. This tells us is, not that data-centricity doesn’t work, but that many retailers were — and still are — getting it wrong.

Exclusive Q&A: Shinola President Reveals How Customer Insights Shape Evolving Loyalty Strategy

Shinola has consistently stood out from the crowd, both with an unlikely combination of product categories (high-quality watches, bicycles and leather goods) and a commitment to manufacturing those products itself. But its diverse product line and do-it-yourself supply chain are ultimately supporting players. What has made Shinola thrive has been its ability to deliver a sense of authenticity and storytelling that deepens the customer relationship, with shopper insights driving the retailer’s loyalty strategies even further. During a Q&A conducted via Skype, Glenn Taylor of Retail TouchPoints sat down with Shannon Washburn, President of Shinola, to get a first look at her upcoming Retail Innovation Conference (RIC) session with Ernan Roman, President of ERDM Corp., which will highlight the retailer’s powerful though non-traditional loyalty strategies. Additionally, Washburn gives insights into: The work Shinola has done with third-party firms to generate customer insights, drive brand awareness and improve customer retention; The company’s entrance into the hotel business with the opening of the Shinola Hotel in January 2019; Shinola’s approach to personalization both online and in stores, particularly with the deployment of in-store artisans in six markets; and How her time as a merchandise buyer provided a solid foundation for her career.

Exclusive Q&A: How Kroger Boosts Sales By Connecting Brands To Customers

Kroger has been able to connect the brands it carries with its customers in a way few other retailers can match, through the Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM) program. The initiative was established by Kroger’s 84.51° analytics and technology division to provide brand partners with additional transparency and improved sales, while creating a new revenue source for Kroger itself. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen called the retailer’s alternative revenue streams “a virtuous cycle” that “works both from a customer standpoint and from an economic standpoint” in an October 2018 statement delivered to investors. While the company declined to provide exact numbers, Kroger officials noted that revenue from sources such as media is growing faster than 20% annually, and will play a major role in boosting the company’s annual operating profit to $400 million by 2020. Kroger is well positioned to “moonlight” as a marketing adviser because of its powerful loyalty program, which reaches 60 million households and 96% of all Kroger transactions. During the eight weeks leading up to Oct. 30, 2018, 74% of active shoppers gave Kroger a valid email address, name and address, and 94% of those said they want to receive communications from Kroger. Kroger can directly leverage the…

Turning Retailers’ Cybersecurity Strategy Inside Out

Cybersecurity professionals across industries are responsible for three distinct areas: 1) data confidentiality (ensuring privacy); 2) data integrity (ensuring accuracy); and 3) network/service/application availability (ensuring uptime). Since the advent of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) a decade ago, the retail industry has maintained a singular focus on confidentiality — more specifically, protecting customers’ credit card data. Retailers have devoted significant time, resources and budget to protecting their point of sale terminals, preventing data breaches and demonstrating PCI compliance. And as a result of their prioritization of payment security, coupled with the emergence of security technologies such as EMV chips, the risk of credit card theft has declined significantly over the past few years.

Personalization Best Practices For Data-Centric Retailers

In a world where your customers and prospects are expecting personalized communication, more customer data means more complex marketing programs. Unfortunately, for large business-to-consumer (B2C) retail companies, the sheer size and complexity of a customer dataset can result in less personalization. But this doesn’t mean enterprise retailers can’t excel at personalization. Below are three best practices for effectively accessing and using customer data for increased personalization.

Top 2019 Trends: More AI, Inclusivity, Social Engagement And The Next Generation Of Flagship Stores

The coming year will be a time of reinvention for both retail as a whole and physical stores in particular, according to Coresight Research. The company’s analysts project that the industry will become faster, smarter and more streamlined, with improved supply chains and better integration between online and offline channels.

Understanding Generational Differences: Why More Data Should Mean More Value For Customers

You have likely heard a lot about Millennials — roughly 80 million Americans ages 23 to 41 — and perhaps a bit less about Generation Z — roughly 70 million Americans ages 7 to 22. Chances are, though, you have heard from Gen Z more than you realize. These younger generations are sharing vast amounts of information. Not surprisingly, they are actively engaged on social media sites and feeds. Up to 60% of Millennials on Twitter tweet every day, 96% of Gen Z teens are on YouTube, and almost 70% of Gen Z is on Instagram. As social media provides an opportunity for conversation, both generations share freely — photos, jokes, current events and their thoughts on a wide variety of topics, as they seek ways to connect and feel known, loved and respected. These younger generations say they feel more connected by virtue of participation and feel they are getting something in return.

Get Ready, Retailers: Cannabis Sales Could Grow Like A Weed

Cannabis retailing is poised to be a major industry sector: a majority (56%) of U.S. consumers would try cannabis if it were legal, according to a survey by A.T. Kearney. With cannabis already available for medical use in 33 states and recreational use in 10, it’s not too early for retailers to position themselves for this market’s growth.

Data Monetization: Gaining, And Maintaining, A Competitive Edge In The Age Of Amazon And Era Of Consumer Trust

If retailers could improve omnichannel conversations with customers, why wouldn’t they? Because change is difficult, and trying to keep pace in an increasingly complex retail world can be challenging at best. Data monetization is a perfect example. Though an increasing number of change advocates across the retail industry recognize the advantages of monetizing data, for everything from adapting business models for e-Commerce to measuring brand sentiment, not all retailers have successfully kept pace with the changing landscape, and there is more to be learned by all. Those who do “get it” are helping their company leverage this revenue stream in new ways, to compete and differentiate themselves in the competitive retail ecosystem, and are doing so while keeping consumer trust and transparency top of mind. Here’s how.

Is Predictive AI The Next Step For Fashion Design And Curation?

Fashion’s one constant — change — forces everyone within the industry to stay ahead of trends in order to make intelligent business decisions. But designers, marketers and buyers may soon be getting help with some of the “grunt work” involved in analyzing data. A study revealed that AI-powered “classifiers” were more reliable at analyzing garments, and could classify footwear styles and footwear subcategories, more accurately and consistently than apparel professionals, according to EDITED. When compared to humans, the classifiers made, on average: 2.5 percentage points fewer errors when identifying garment types; 9.3 percentage points fewer errors when determining subcategories; and Approximately 6.5 percentage points fewer errors when classifying specific footwear styles.

What Retailers Learned In 2018: It’s All About Customer Data-Driven Strategy

At a recent industry event, I quipped that this is “the best of times and the worst of times” for retailers. Implicit in my comment — which was a paraphrase of the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, the Charles Dickens classic about the French Revolution — that the retail industry is undergoing a revolution of its own. Never mind the “retail apocalypse.” What retailers have begun to realize is that the demise of their businesses is not a foregone conclusion. This is a time for retailers to take action, not sit idly on the sidelines. In 2018, we saw more retailers take action by equipping themselves with the most important weapon for battle: customer strategy fueled by customer data science. Why is this happening? It could be that the ever-looming threat of Amazon, which has ventured boldly beyond e-Commerce and into physical spaces as well, with the steady spread of its 4-star stores throughout the U.S. It could also be the emergence of grocery discounters that are forcing retailers everywhere to rethink pricing and overall value propositions for customers. It could also be the example of retailers of all sizes to embrace the art and science of…

Extinction Event Or Golden Opportunity?

There is no question that we live in a data-fueled marketplace, and no better illustration of how the retail landscape has changed than the fact that Walmart employs more data scientists than NASA. They are not just interpreting the vast data signal from online behavior and loyalty app purchases, they are examining the entire business from the aisle to the parking lot — and everything in between. Welcome to the new reality. What’s happening at the largest retailers is merely a reflection of a sea change in the marketplace — one that will lead to extinction for retailers and brands that fail to adapt and change. This demanding new landscape was created by three major forces that retailers must embrace to serve: data convergence and connection, machine learning and personalization at scale.

Addressing The Unique Marketing Challenges Of SMB E-Commerce Merchants

According to the latest numbers from the National Retail Foundation, SMBs make up more than 98% of all retailers today. This feels inflated when you consider all the large merchants in our news feeds every day, but if you look beyond the headlines and consider the vast opportunities offered by the Internet, it isn’t really so shocking. Robust e-Commerce platforms, codeless site design, simple payment systems and a myriad of affordable tools are available today to help ambitious entrepreneurs set up shop and establish a formidable online retail presence quickly and at minimal cost. For most online shoppers, as long as the goods, price and customer experience are up to snuff, sheer size of the merchant has little impact on purchase decisions. This “level playing field” means retailers of every size are competing for the same customers, pitting smaller teams with less money and not enough time against resource-rich retail giants like Amazon and Walmart. This competitive landscape makes marketing even more critical for smaller retailers trying to engage consumers, who often default to omnipresent merchants by habit or convenience.

56% Of ‘Growth CMOs’ Prioritize Data Analysis Ahead Of Brand Building, Storytelling

The tools that are prized by the modern Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) continue to change as marketing becomes ever more technologically oriented. More than half (56%) of “growth CMOs” prioritize data and intelligence analysis as the top skill to help them evolve their growth agenda, according to a survey of 191 global CMOs from CMO Council and Deloitte. Additional mandatory skills include: Market insights and knowledge (50%); Holistic view of the customer journey (49%); Brand building and development (47%); and Storytelling in a digital world (44%). This emphasis on data and analytics has broadened many CMOs’ portfolio. “We are an extremely data-driven company,” said Monica Deretich, VP of Marketing and CRM of the JustFab business at TechStyle Fashion Group in a statement. “Yes, we collect data and feedback directly from our members so we can optimize her experience and keep an eye on the market around us. But as an organization, we are also committed to actively analyzing revenue performance data and looking for signals that identify and support efficiencies.”
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