The 2018 holiday shopping season promises to be one for the record books. For the first time ever, sales are projected to top $1 trillion! Brick-and-mortar sales are expected to climb by 4.4 percent, while online sales will grow by over 12 percent.
A lot of factors are driving that growth, from a strong economy to the rapid expansion of mobile shopping. High on that list is retail analytics. It’s allowing retailers to find, attract, and retain customers like never before. As a result, they are spending more than ever before.
It’s hard to overstate the impact of retail analytics. But it’s also easy to obscure the benefits. To give you a sense of how analytics is transforming retail, explore how it’s being used this holiday season:
Delivering a Personalized Shopping Experience
We tend to think of holiday shoppers as a homogeneous horde seeking out the cheapest, biggest, and easiest experiences. But that attitude is exactly what shoppers hate about the holidays. They feel like they are anonymous inside stores; and often struggle to find what they actually want and need.
Retail data analytics offers incredible opportunities for companies to better understand consumer trends so they can personalize the shopping experience, both online and in-store. By tracking what, when, and how individuals buy things, retailers can begin speaking to that shopper directly. Making personalized appeals during the uber-competitive shopping season is a way to win business and build loyalty. In fact, one survey demonstrated that shoppers are 91 percent more likely to choose brands that remember their preferences and customize their experience.
Improving the In-Store Experience
Anyone who has been shopping in November or December know that store at their best and their worst. Sure, they are decorated for the holiday season and looking more festive than usual. They are also busy, dirty, under-stocked, and disorganized. At the exact time when the in-store experience needs to be perfect it’s completely unfamiliar.
Retail analytics offers a sweeping solution. Retailers can collect data about how shoppers move through the store and what products they choose to focus on. Those insights lead to better layouts along with a more appealing mix of products. In myriad ways, retailers have the means to make the store as appealing and accessible as possible. Every store could be better. Retail analytics reveals how.
Anticipating Inventory Issues
Inventory issues are always frustrating, but especially around the holiday season. Imagine making a trip through the snow to find the last item on our list. Then discovering that it’s out of stock and won’t be available until January. It’s incredibly frustrating, and it creates a lasting negative association with that store or brand.
Retail analytics provides transparency into the current inventory and present buying patterns. Stores can study what is selling, what is not, and how that impacts ordering patterns. In short order retailers are able to eliminate inventory issues while keeping less unwanted stock on hand.
Launch New Business Models
The holiday season may not sound like the best time to launch new products, services, or revenue streams. But it’s a lot more common than it seems. Sales surge during this season, and buyers are always looking for something original and exciting.
Expanding a business is always uncertain and risk, which is where retail analytics come into play. Data analytics answers key business questions in advance so that decision makers can act with certainty. There is less risk of committing to bad business decisions. There is also less likelihood the rollout will stumble and fail.
Retail analytics is driving this holiday season, and every season after it. This technology is answering the questions retailers have always struggled with. In the process, it’s empowering stores to deliver more value and vitality than they have in decades. The future of shopping runs on data. Retailers and consumers should be equally excited.
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