The biggest business challenges of retailers should be tackled within marketing

Jarno Marin

Customers shopping

Retail Systems Research published earlier this year a benchmark report “Retail Analytics Moves To The Frontline”, which outlined the most common business challenges experienced by retailers today. The report highlighted how retailing is rapidly moving from emotional towards a more data-driven industry.

Still, data-driven processes within the industry tend to vary a lot between the companies and even their own departments. Highly data-driven players, like the supply chain master Walmart, are leading the way among the companies. Between the departments, finance and IT are leading, whereas marketing, store operations, product development and merchandising hold positions from 8th to 11th.

Greatest business challenges are customer-driven according to retail winners

RSR divides retailers into winners and laggards based on a straightforward definition. They judge retailers by year-over-year comparable store/channel sales improvements; where the industry’s comparable average sales growth is 3%. The winners are above this sales growth and the laggards below it.

There is one clear denominator for all of the leading business challenges that especially the winning retailers pointed out. Customers are the biggest force driving the retailers to use more data-driven approaches at any field of the business.

Greatest business challenges according to the retail winners are:

  1. Consumers expect to have instantaneous access to information about products and services everywhere.
  2. We need to understand consumers' "paths to purchase".
  3. Information empowered consumers are more demanding.
  4. Sudden changes in consumer trends and demand - we need to react more quickly.
  5. Our hyper-competitive and dynamic market creates the need to model and forecast different scenarios.
  6. Competitors use customer information as a competitive tool to win more "share of wallet".
  7. Customers are less loyal.

This list shows that the retail winners see the need to understand customers and their behaviour better in a any given way. This is seen especially well in the first four challenges. Retail laggards, on their part, seem to focus more on competitors. Their top concern was the challenge number 5.

Efficient in-store personalisation helps marketers to focus on customer

Retailers can help themselves by looking for more efficient ways of personalising customers' overall shopping experience. Modern in-store personalisation technology can help retailers to create remarkably better experiences for their customers both in-store and online.

Are you not familiar to the topic of modern in-store personalisation? We wrote an eBook called “What is modern in-store personalisation?” In this eBook we explain what in-store personalisation is, why it matters and how to get forward with it.

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