Retailers are recognizing and embracing the new world reality: in order to deliver an enriching customer experience, it is imperative to realign their efforts and focus on identifying and acting on changing consumer behavior, in real time. According to the Boston Retail Partners 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Study, although only 22% of leading retailers are using real-time analytics now, 61% plan to implement these capabilities over the next two years.
The goal for retailers is to better understand customer purchasing patterns, trends, preferences, propensity to buy, etc. and then use these insights to enhance their customers’ experience and interactions with their retail organization—and, expectantly, deliver greater business outcomes.
A critical component to achieving these objectives is the retailer’s ability to gather, analyze, and act on shifting customer behaviors as they occur.
For instance, a visitor to a women’s clothing retailer website is browsing for professional business attire. Information about the brands, styles, sizes, and colors viewed by the visitor is combined with CRM data about the customer—including transaction history, recent channel interactions, and current life-cycle status—to get a more holistic view of the specific customer.
The real-time analytics engine determines that the visitor is a high-value customer and the next best action would be to extend her an offer to increase her inclination to buy. The offer is based on the customer’s known brand preferences, her purchase history, and the likelihood that she will make a purchase based on the response rate of customers with similar characteristics.
Similarly, real-time analytics can be applied to in-store customer behavior. For example, a sporting goods retailer has been running a promotion on fleece jackets and has placed them at the corner of a high-traffic aisle. However, after the first few days of the promotion, store managers determine that sales volumes are approximately 20% lower than anticipated.
Using real-time data and analytics, managers discover that the fleece jackets are likely to sell faster by moving them to another location within the store, where they are promoted alongside other winter clothing clearance items such as socks, hats, gloves, and outerwear just prior to a busy weekend sales event.
Consumer behavior is constantly changing. Real-time analytics empower business leaders, not only in the retail world but all other industries, to identify and respond to these behavioral shifts quickly. As a result, organizations are able to deliver engaging and relevant customer experiences for optimal business outcomes.