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Why retail data analytics is poised to transform the customer experience

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Today’s retailers know it’s not enough to offer low prices, a large selection, or friendly service. Retailers must do all those things while focusing on how they contribute to the broader ‘customer experience.’

This term encompasses everything that goes into finding, purchasing, and owning a product from a retailer. The quality of the experience is influenced by major things like friendly or rude service, but also by subtler elements like the wait in the checkout line or the messaging used in advertisements.

The retailers that deliver a stellar customer experience stand out from the competition and build a lot of loyalty and brand evangelism. Unfortunately, crafting a customer experience and keeping it consistent is a notoriously overwhelming obligation.

Retail data analytics promises to deliver the solution. The concept is simple: Retailers collect as much data as possible about who their customers are and how they shop. They then analyze that data to reveal both what kind of customer experiences people want and what kind they are actually getting. That empowers retailers to transform the customer experience in the following ways:

Deliver a customized experience

Data allows the ‘customer’ experience to become an ‘individual’ experience. Whether it is on a website, in an app, or even inside a store, the experience someone has with a retailer is customized to as many of their wants and needs as possible based on what the company already knows about that person’s preferences. Customization makes a retailer seem focused, informed, and committed to service. A customized experience also leads to demonstrably higher sales.

Improve performance across the board

Improving the customer experience is not only about looking at the customers themselves. It’s also about looking at factors affecting the customer experience – the amount of available parking, for example – and finding ways to make improvements. Retail data analytics lets users define the data they want to focus on before identifying patterns, trends, and anomalies within it. Analytics illustrates whatever is or is not working and empowers retailers to perfect every process.

Correct and prevent mistakes

Customers have less tolerance than ever for retailers who fall short of expectations. Data may be a way to improve the customer experience, but it’s also a way to respond faster and more fully to customer complaints. Data provides visibility, flexibility, and autonomy. Whatever problems led to the initial issue are easier to identify and easier to resolve so that this is a one-time problem.

Enhance decision making

Retailers are eager to deliver a better customer experience and reap the rewards that follow. The hard part is knowing what, where, why, and how to make changes. Retail analytics answers all those questions by empowering retailers to forecast their future with much greater detail and confidence. Decision making is based on empirical and objective information rather than assumption and predictions. Consequently, the biggest decisions are more reliably the best decisions.

Evolve for the future

There is no such thing as a perfect customer experience. Even if a company is already doing everything excellently they are falling short in terms of doing more for the consumer. Every retailer will have to innovate and implement new products and services to remain relevant in fickle markets and hyper-competitive industries. And when that becomes imperative, it introduces a lot of unknowns. Retail data analytics helps brands to innovate towards customers instead of away from them.

Data is only an asset for retailers who put it to use. Research shows that up to 80 percent of the data in organizations is going unused. The cause is largely due to the difficulty of data management and the lack of adequate tools. When retailers rectify this issue, and start getting serious about their data they start getting serious about consumers at the same time.

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