The world of retail has always been fiercely competitive but the pandemic has meant it’s harder than ever for companies to succeed. So how can retailers make sure they’re able to prosper in a difficult market? Marcos Monterio, CEO, Veezoo, explains why data that’s easily accessed, is the key.
There is no doubt that the last year has been difficult for all industries but with retailers it’s been a real mixed bag. Some have absolutely thrived like Amazon and Ocado and others like Topshop have suffered so badly it’s caused them to permanently close.
With the world changing overnight many scrambled to switch operations online in order to survive. But even for online retailers with established logistics and infrastructure in place the shift in demand, as well as evolving regulations and lockdowns, meant it has been difficult to keep up with the pace.
Throw in supply issues that have plagued the industry as a result of both post Brexit regulations and the pandemic and all of a sudden you’ve got some major headaches for retailers.
Even prior to the pandemic the retail sector has faced challenges with an ever growing competitive online space. So how can these companies be in a position to overcome the predictable challenges such as price competition as well as the unexpected ones like the pandemic?
In addition business agility is high on organisations’ radars as the pandemic has made most of us realise that the unexpected can just be around the corner. So how can you make a business pivot quickly?
The answer to both these problems is analytics.
At the heart of any business decision should be solid data. It can provide the insights that help arm teams with the knowledge and confidence needed to make informed choices.
Get to know your customers:
Data can tell you when and where they shop, what they buy, and so on. Enabling you to paint a picture of who your consumers and potential customers are. It supports marketing activity and in identifying new products or services to offer.
This insight is valuable during most times, but in 2020 it proved to be a business lifeline. As the world changed so did the way in which customers shopped, but businesses couldn’t predict how so the data provided them with the facts required.
One Veezoo customer sells food at train stations to commuters. It found that it’s custom and demand changed drastically as less people went to the office. However, it did still see sales but just at different times and for different items. For that company the analytics not only meant they could reduce food waste but also they could streamline their staffing so they weren’t wasting wages on quieter times.
Analytics help you stay ahead:
Being able to understand how your customers are behaving will help you stay ahead in the overcrowded retail space. The data you gather must be visualized for you to really understand your customers’ demands, expectations and pain points. During the pandemic this has been critical in aiding business survival.
Create engaging customer experiences -
Data can help you understand what features capture your customers’ attention such as website layout, user journey, images and can support how you create engaging, frictionless experiences that will make customers come back for more.
Offer better product recommendations -
It’s no secret that many successful retailers use data to cross-sell. Personalised product recommendations are almost a must in digital shopping but it can be complicated to implement. Using data properly is a must here.
In addition, data analytics help companies optimise their product line, improve their inventory management and maximise return of their ad spend.
You’re probably thinking this sounds great, but you’ve always found databases complex to access, unitutive, clunky and long winded - essentially requiring a skilled manager to use it. You’re not alone. It’s a huge gripe for many that analytics aren’t more straightforward.
What’s more you want access across the whole team. The data manager having all access is of course necessary but so are those on the ‘frontline’ such as the store manager. It’s not efficient if only one person in the company can access the data as it becomes a bottleneck and the rest of the team is not able to drive their own conclusions.
However, the good news is that technology has progressed to enable business insights to be far easier to extract. Platforms such as Veezoo plug into your databases and are able to extract real time data analytics using very simple questions. In a similar way to using a search engine, employees are now able to get answers in seconds to questions that use natural language such as ‘how many of our customers in Oxford bought jumpers in May?’.
This means that for the first time all team members can use data to make impactful changes quickly. What we are seeing as a result is that entire teams are now being able to use analytics and companies are starting to form a data culture. Once teams start to see the value in the business insights, they start using data more and more, driving the company forward.
So whilst the world may now seem forever uncertain for retailers, having reliable data access is one way to help create confidence, aid informed decision making and allow your company to be agile when needed.