By Brad Shelton
Let’s face it – competition in the retail space continues to get more fierce. Whether it is a battle over pricing and promotion, online versus offline strategies, or the increasingly complicated shopper journey, major retailers wrestle every day with how to stay a few steps ahead of their competitors while serving up an unmatched customer experience.
Here are the five ways to ensure that retailers can not only compete more effectively but also win – with their customers, their partners and the marketplace.
- Know Your Customers – Before you can achieve true customer insights, you must have a category and customer strategy. And that starts with really knowing your customers. Why do they shop your stores? What brings them in? What keeps them there? Who is your most loyal and valuable customer? What motivates their purchase behavior? What types of products are they purchasing?
- Go Beyond Sales Data – Many retailers use their sales data to make decisions. Unfortunately it only provides one lens, causing you to have a limited view and potentially miss out on several opportunities. POS data is a good benchmark but should not be used alone to make product or customer targeting decisions. What if you could bring together supply chain information with basket-level data and segmentation data? It’s not only possible, some retailers are already doing it successfully.
- Become a Strong Partner to Manufacturers – Let’s face it – none of us can go it alone. When retailers have a strategic plan for exactly how they will collaborate with specific manufacturers, everyone wins. You speak the same language, you share data, and you have what we call “one version of the truth.” Joint business planning becomes second nature and win/win for everyone.
- Be Excellent in Execution – It’s certainly easier to create a plan than it is to execute it. Execution excellence means delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time. As the shopper journey continues to evolve and get more complex (as described in our recent report on Channel Migration), you will need to execute flawlessly in order to tap into the right insights along the way. You want to meet customers exactly where they are in their path to purchase, whether they are online at home still in the research phase, discussing similar products on social media, or staring at your store shelf.
- Create Relevant and Targeted Engagements – As digital becomes more relevant to CPG shopping, retailers have an incredible opportunity to reach customers through more one-to-one, customized communications. Some large retailers have launched great initiatives around this already, whether it is developing apps that automatically create shopping lists for customers based on their previous purchases, allowing customers to purchase certain products via social media, or offering customers more loyalty points for engaging in certain types of behaviors. With access to granular-level data, integration and analysis, retailers can build an offer a completely personalized experience for customers across all touch points and in real time. This type of tailored engagement that helps make customers lives easier is exactly what it takes to be a retailer of the future.
There are obviously several challenges that retailers need to overcome in order to win in the marketplace. When it comes down to it, you need to be able to derive real value from your data for better insights, and you want to have one version of the truth for better collaboration with your manufacturers.
Drop me a note at Brad.Shelton@IRIworldwide.com if you want to learn more about how to take your insights and collaboration to a whole new level for measurable AND sustainable results.