Are retailers using data analytics to their advantage?

Are retailers using data analytics to their advantage?

The power of data is becoming clear to organisations of all shapes and sizes, from healthcare to financial services, car manufacturing to government.

But is the retail sector really taking advantage of what data analysis has to offer?

Research from eCommera found only 23% of UK retailers feel they can quickly make sense of the data available to them to take the right business decisions. Meanwhile, nearly 50% of retailers believe their current business intelligence tools fall short of their needs, with only 16% confident that their data analytics tools provide the organisational visibility they require.

Computer Weekly attended Demandware’s Xchange event in Miami last week, and it was clear from the keynote that data is going to be a key trend for retailers over the coming year.

Demandware president and CEO Tom Ebling said retailers should make turning data into currency an important part of their business strategy.

“The future is going to be so personalised, you’ll know the customer as well as they know themselves,” he said.

Tom Davis, global lead for e-commerce at Puma, said not having insight into customers can hold retailers back. “If you can’t control your data, you can’t move fast enough,” he said.

Footwear brand Crocs has been collecting data for some time in the US, using the Demandware Active Merchandising platform. But it hasn’t yet been able to tie that data to rich customer profiles on a global basis.

So far, Crocs has been able to leverage transactional data from the platform to drive product assorting and recommendations. But the introduction of a new customer relationship management (CRM) programme will give the retailer a “big data view” of customers, helping it identify those customers who have a propensity to buy more easily and more readily, as well as identifying loyal customers to create a loyalty programme.

“We know the customer who shops in multiple channels has a much greater value and provides us an opportunity for growth as we bring new lines to market and expand the brand,” said Harvey Bierman, vice-president of global e-commerce at Crocs.

Over the years, many retailers have implemented loyalty programmes for customer rewards and, more importantly, gaining data insights. Tesco has been offering its Clubcard for nearly 20 years while the Boots Advantage Card has been running since 1997. 

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