Top 3 Challenges Retailers Overcome With Business Analytics

August 20, 2015
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Top 3 Challenges Retailers Overcome With Business Analytics

It is clearly the age of the consumer – and has been for some time now.

Top 3 Challenges Retailers Overcome With Business Analytics

It is clearly the age of the consumer – and has been for some time now. As more consumers turn to digital channels, relationships with customers and prospects have become more virtual than physical. Understanding how to target today’s on-the-go consumers requires using more data and analytics than ever before.

In a survey by RSR Research, retailers were asked to name their top 3 challenges leading to expanded use of analytics. Top-performing retailers cited the following:

  1. Consumers expect to have instantaneous access to information about products and services everywhere (60%).
  2. We need to understand consumers’ “path to purchase” (56%).
  3. Information-empowered consumers are more demanding (56%).

business intelligence, analytics

Retailers clearly understand that as consumers shop across multiple channels and expect seamless interactions, analytics will play a vital role in customer acquisition and retention strategies. Here is how analytics can be used to address the top 3 challenges:

Challenge #1: Consumers expect to have access to information about your products and services at any given time.

You obviously can’t be everywhere at once. By understanding which channels your customers use and where they consume information, you can better allocate resources. For example, by analyzing your customer database, you may discover that a large percentage of your high-value customers have expressed an interest in health and fitness, indicating that advertising in health magazines would be a great venue to reach these customers. Further analysis may also reveal that these same customers are between the ages of 25-30, which would indicate that these consumers prefer to research on digital channels compared to print magazines or direct mail. The best focus for this particular segment of consumers may be display ads on popular health and fitness sites.

Similar analytics of channel behaviors for any number of customer segments will allow you to better allocate your budget and resources to drive the most engagement with your customers and prospects.

Challenge #2: We need to understand the consumer’s “path to purchase”.

The customer journey has gotten more complex and consumers may engage with your brand multiple times before completing a purchase.

86% of marketers agree that is it critical to create a cohesive customer journey, according to a report by Salesforce Marketing Cloud and LinkedIn.

Among B2B survey respondents, the most critical marketing technologies to create this customer journey included:

  • Marketing analytics (82%)
  • Content management (75%)
  • CRM tools (75%)

b2b marketing technology, customer journey

B2C respondents also rated the following tools as being the most critical:

  • Marketing Analytics (89%)
  • Content Management (79%)
  • CRM tools (69%)

Both B2C and B2B marketers clearly see marketing analytics as key to driving the customer journey. Because marketers are inundated with data about their customers from a wide variety of sources, understanding how to acquire new customers or how to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities require that this data be integrated and cleansed before generating meaningful analytics.

Challenge #3: Information-empowered consumers are more demanding.

Consumers access information about your products and services through an increasing number of touch points, such as recommendations from social peers and user reviews. These information-empowered consumers are more demanding than ever before, and they expect retailers to meet their preferences at any given time.

Consumers are producing more data as they interact through each of these channels. This provides a huge opportunity for retailers to gain a deeper understanding into consumers’ shopping habits and preferences. According to Aberdeen Group, 70% of retailers analyze approximately eight disparate sources of business and customer data to identify shopper trends and preferences and adapt to changing customer needs.

In today’s retailing environment, more and more companies are realizing that analytics is key to making decisions to target today’s digital consumers. And those that have adopted and integrated analytics into their overall business strategies are winning big.

Now it’s your turn: What is one other challenge you face in retail? Do you think business intelligence can help you overcome it?

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