Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cutting edge retailers are using BIG DATA analytics to outperform others for more revenues and profits. ARE YOU?

Retailers, do you feel overwhelmed by recent trends of using big data in the industry? Or, you get a sale but you are not sure where sale came from? Depending on whom you ask, you may have different answers. But no need to panic, it may be your chance to excel in the industry. Growth of big data usage has led the renaissance of retail IT happening, empowering retailers to utilize data and establish engaging customer relationship. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program, I aim for helping retailers to be disruptors by embracing the technology in changing landscape.

Retail Renaissance written by Lewis Gersh: talks about there are many retailers still fear and unwillingly spend on technology. However, they are many players in traditional retail are taking a step forward to embrace e-commerce and further to integrate big data with monetization plan. And the article also presents the report of US Census that justify the fear for e-commerce’s threat to physical retail. “In the retail industry, the transformative potential of technology will not displace physical retail, but rather, will transform and augment the traditional experience and displace legacy systems.”

Online Retail Sales Are Down, And Why Some Retailers Don’t Care written by Steve Olenski justifies the questions most people who might have ”How can online retail sales be “small”? The story of Amazon shows that it was leading the way in terms of online sales that was higher than their next 12 competitors combined. The articles points out the problem of retailers always have ”How to attribute its sale to online vs. offline?” But does it really matter?

From my analysis of these two articles and my studies at Northwestern University, here are three points I recommend you to think and take action.

1.   Embrace technology: These two articles imply that technology will be seamlessly important to personal shopping experience while consumers expect to have tailored experiences and brand engagement in their own way. Therefore, improvement of functionality and accessibility to product specifications and deals will be critical to boost the sales, further to carve bigger share of market while other retailer don’t understand how to utilize it.

2.   Engage: The power of e-commerce not only offers the platform where shoppers can buy, but how shoppers make the decision through purchase funnel. Retailers should integrate technology with its offline service that will enhance the tailored shopping experience. Make your customers feel important and special. Eventually, e-commerce will enhance the quality of customer retention.

3.   Integration: Perhaps you do not have organized system to track online sales and might have misplaced online sales to offline sales. However, online and offline activities should be seemed as a whole, what shoppers research online can affect their offline activities, vice versa. The key is to integrate all these resources throughout multi-channel platforms, further to generate tailored shopping experience and personal brand engagement.

Jenny Chang is a master’s student in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, and she will soon graduate in December 2013. With 3+ years’ multinational working experiences in Apparel & Textile industry, her specialties are planning, sourcing, and buying. She anticipates that she can utilize her ability in Apparel and CPG industry. Please reach her by following her @Jennyfer0304.


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