Empowering the retail sector with the technology tools it needs to succeed.
It’s no secret that the retail landscape has changed. Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, retailers were beginning to shift their focus towards data and real-time insights, enabled by artificial intelligence, as a way to future-proof their businesses. The variety and volume of data produced by the retail sector, both online and in-store, is growing at an exponential rate. While more data can create valuable opportunities and insights, it also presents a challenge to those who find themselves working with siloed data sets. In addition to this, consumer expectations, preferences and shopping habits have also changed and as a result, today’s retailers are expected to be able to leverage shopper data as part of their strategic, decision-making process.
Using retail data is one of the best ways to help the industry understand what is happening on a store level as well as online. Using technology to track customer behaviour, for example, empowers those who work on the ground to not only look at inventory, but carry out more proactive tasks when a key customer comes in-store. What’s more is that physical interaction still matters—be it in-store, collecting a parcel, or when it comes to the delivery of an online purchase. How does this relate to a better customer experience?
Today’s digital-savvy shoppers also have increased customer service expectations. They believe retailers should not only understand who they are as customers, but in doing so, cater for their individual buying habits in order to maintain loyalty.
Predictive analytics, when combined with artificial intelligence (AI) based on customer shopper data, is an incredibly effective way of anticipating pre-purchase needs. This is also why the sheer amount of information generated by different data sources and applications can be overwhelming for retailers of any size. Not only is there more data, the physical and digital world are no longer considered separate entities. Retailers are expected to integrate omnichannel data seamlessly in order to create a more fulfilling buying experience. From POS to CCTV, e-commerce and inventory management, distribution and the consumer, the ability to analyse and use data effectively is not a must-have, it’s critical.
Embracing IoT essential in a world driven by data
When data sets are siloed, retailers need to find a way to modernise their businesses easily and at the same time, be flexible enough to adjust to changing consumer behaviour and different customer journeys. In order to take advantage of technology—and overcome some of the challenges that come with big data—and drive success, retailers must embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), an essential component of any organisation looking not only to become data-powered, but be data-led. In a world that’s driven by data, the fusion of data across the entire value chain relies on IoT and where data fusion meets AI.
In retail, IoT means transparency, security, sustainability and using data in a way that drives brand revenue. While this could mean showing your store’s farm-to-fork journey, integrating smart supply chain solutions or moving to cloud data centres to reduce energy consumption, technology has become the very foundation of retail, both behind-the-scenes and for shoppers. To not only grow but thrive in today’s fast-paced retail sector, it’s important to use data holistically for an all-inclusive consumer experience. Using IoT, retailers can bring together the right data at the right time and ultimately, build a forward-thinking retail strategy.
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