It’s safe to say that 2017 has been an eventful year full of ups and downs. From politics, to tech, to music and film a lot of things happened. We faced major elections in Europe and watched the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. We had to accept that the old Taylor Swift is dead and celebrated La La Land’s big win for Best Picture at the Oscars. Oh wait, never mind. And of course, a heck of a lot happened in retail. Amazon is turning to brick-and-mortar and the term “Retail Apocalypse” became a trending buzzword that couldn’t keep its promise.
Throughout the year we followed and supported every step of brick-and-mortar businesses and gave important advice and smart solutions for some of the most relevant problems in physical retail right now. After all, it’s our mission to equip brick-and-mortar stores with modern strategies based on big data insights. It’s time to look back at the most important things we have learned in 2017. Here are 7 ways how to make 2018 the best year in retail for your business.
1. Know how to use your customer data properly
Although we have already debunked the rumor that the “Retail Apocalypse” is killing off physical retail a long time ago that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar stores are safe from its fast-growing online competitors. Retail stores need to evolve and invest in new technologies if they want to keep up with online retail. There are plenty of big data solutions that can be used to collect significant customer data. Smart Retail Analytics technology can give you all the important insights into customer behavior. But how do you use the data properly?
If you come off as too invasive you will just end up creeping customers away. You simply have to follow the oldest rule in marketing: perceive your business from the eyes of your customers. Use data insights to improve the customer experience and show customers that you care about their individual needs. Don’t try to trick them into buying what they don’t need. Trust is the best foundation for healthy customer relationships.
2. Learn how to turn browsers into buyers
There is nothing more frustrating for business owners to witness than store visitors browsing through the store and leaving empty-handed. You don’t have to accept that. There are great ways to turn browsers into buyers and we are here to show you. If you understand why people are leaving your stores without buying anything you will be able to adapt your store layout as well as your sales and marketing strategy.
Your collected data insights derived from your retail analytics dashboards are the foundation for identifying and analyzing holes in your store performance. But don’t just stop inside of your store. Use modern retargeting strategies to get store visitors to your online shop or back to your offline stores. Retargeting is a great way to step up your omnichannel game and connect your offline and online channels.
3. Identify and solve queuing problems in your store
One of the most common reasons why store visitors end up leaving without buying is because the queues in retail stores are too long and not well-managed. And how you could blame them? After all, people still prefer going shopping in physical stores instead of online because it’s fun. Or at least it should be. But as soon as queuing time gets too long there is not much you can do to save the shopping experience in your store. So put some more effort into how you manage the waiting lines in your stores. Retail Analytics provides you with important information about relevant store KPIs such as customer dwell time and peak hours at your store. With those insights you can design a more efficient waiting line system.
4. Master the art of Click & Collect retailing
Another great way of avoid long queues is implementing Click & Collect services. But there are more advantages to this sales strategy. Even tough physical stores are still relevant in the retail landscape brands can’t ignore online channels anymore. Consumers might still prefer shopping offline, but that doesn’t mean they don’t use their phones while doing so. You don’t want consumers to visit your store to test a product and then buy it online from a competitor. Omnichannel is not only an option anymore. A businesses’ sales channel need to be seamlessly integrated in the customer journey. Click & Collect gives customers the flexibility to adapt the shopping process to their own wishes and needs.
5. Stop ignoring mobile as a channel
A lot of brick-and-mortar retailers have understood that you can’t be successful anymore without having at least a certain amount online presence as a brand. But when it comes to mobile presence many businesses don’t seem to put a lot of thought into this very important channel. However, smartphones and other mobile devices play a central role throughout the customer journey, from collecting information about a product to purchasing the product. The first step is an obvious one: optimize your homepage for online devices. Then start integrating mobile devices into your omnichannel sales strategy.
6. Step up your inventory game
We can’t talk about store efficiency without discussing inventory management. Here is the thing: you can put a lot of effort into marketing campaigns and innovative store concepts but if you don’t manage your inventory properly you will either face too high costs or you won’t have the resources to satisfy your customers’ wishes because your products are out of stock. In order to efficiently plan inventory you need to understand and predict the demand in your stores. POS data is not enough to make precise forecasts but by integrating the data into your Retail Analytics dashboard you get a complete overview of customer activities in your stores. With these insights in hand you won’t ever have trouble organizing your inventory again.
7. Learn how to S.I.N.G
No, this is not a casting call for “The Voice”. S.I.N.G. is a formula that helps you win over Millennial customers. After all, this demographic is becoming the most important buying force in retail and businesses should pay more attention to their needs. Millennial customers can be quite difficult to handle if you don’t understand what they really care for. But once you have figured out what makes this group of young customers tick your business will thank you. If you want to know what S.I.N.G. stands for check out our blog article from September.
With all the above in mind there is no chance that 2018 won’t be an amazing year for your business. That said, we wish you a great start into the New Year and are happy to continue supporting your business throughout the next year with our innovative technology and customer insights.