Evolving Digitally: Staying Alive in the Retail Market

In recent news, we’ve seen a decline of some of the big box retailers as Toys R’ Us, Sears and others that have failed to revive their brand. Online giants such as Amazon have certainly taken their cut of the market, but delving deeper into the matter, there are signs that these retailers are lacking the digital progression needed to stay in the forefront. With so much data available today, they must find new and innovative ways to keep customers coming back.

Retailers need to embrace the idea that IT and technical implementations can portray a more complete view of a customer’s journey through the purchase cycle and arm them with information that can improve customer experience. A report by Forrester indicates the strong correlation between customer experience and a consumers’ loyalty to that company. Their research demonstrated that retailers who significantly increased customer experience positively impacted sales by a margin of between $55 million to $1.6 million, depending on the industry.

According to Nick Martin, head of retail and CPG for Google Cloud UK & Ireland, it is vital to adopt a single view of the customer across an organization and the best way to address this is to implement a more agile sales & marketing structure and utilize the cloud. He says not all elements need to be in the cloud, but retailers should start moving to enterprise solutions that exist in the cloud to give them better interoperability in a scalable way and enables them to just pay for what they use.

Cloud based data such as customer behavior, customer information, and stock levels can be used to generate coupons or pricing specials that will draw the customers in and keep them engaged. Digital signage can be an effective tool to disseminate information and even gather new information through technologies such as facial recognition in which the number of customers, genders, age and even moods can be tracked.

The data is out there and technology has extensive ways of gathering it to not only meet the current needs of customer, but to also fulfill needs that they themselves don’t even know exist. Retail stores will need to step up to the plate digitally or strike out and go the way of some of their predecessors.