Data has been heralded as the new gold for a few years now, but the last year really demonstrated just how valuable it is for businesses. With the world changing overnight no retailer was immune to having to change, and quickly at that.
Yet, even though most of us realise the value of data it remains an elusive area of the business with only few team members able to access and decipher it. Marcos Monteiro, CEO of Veezoo, takes a look at why data is key for retailers from the top all the way to the store floor.
Know your customers:
It sounds basic but we often forget that data provides organisations with meaningful insight into their audiences and customers. Afterall how can you continue to grow if you don’t know what your market needs or wants?
Data is valuable because it helps us understand consumers’ habits from the time they like to shop, average spend, how long they leave things in a basket for and so on. This information is vital as it then informs everything from what product lines to develop to when is the best time to send push notifications to sending a discount email to convert the basket to checkout.
But in a pandemic this information proved to not just help company growth, it was vital for the survival of many companies, even the most profitable and successful.
Take the likes of ASOS. Although you may assume because it had infrastructure to support online shopping and nationwide delivery (a lockdown must) that it would be well positioned to weather the covid storm but it faced another enormous challenge. ASOS was known as the place to go to for party wear, wedding guest outfits and the latest trends to wear out- but with shoppers no longer dressing up ASOS lost its core market.
The solution for ASOS was to pivot from going out clothes to casual wear. But how did they know this was the right thing to do and not a huge gamble based on their assumptions? The answer is data. They analysed their sales which showed them a huge increase in leisurewear which provided the confidence the business needed to scale up that part of its offering.
The decision paid off. ASOS tripled its sales in 2020 despite losing its core selling point -proving the power that data has in both helping businesses change direction to aid survival but also in aiding growth.
Data keeps you a step ahead:
Being able to identify customers’ behaviour quickly is a crucial element to business endurance. A company may start off offering one product and soon realise that their customers have a need for it and want more. Like we saw with ASOS and its leisure wear sales increase.
Cross and up sell
The old business mantra is that it costs five times more to acquire new customers than existing ones. But how do you know what your existing shoppers want or if their needs change? Data is able to clarify what each person is buying, looking at and not interested in. This then works into building more personalised recommendations for customers when they open an app or visit a website. What’s more you can then see what they like on the recommendations so you’re constantly evolving customer profiles.
Maximise ad spend
E-commerce analytics will help you decide where it’s best to invest money for advertising. Digital marketing is booming in popularity as shoppers turn to more online activity, but what was once a cost effective marketing activity is now increasing in price.
Maximising ad spend by analysing data to show who clicked on what, how long they then spent on the website and what they brought helps form future campaigns and let’s you know what works and doesn’t.
Access is the game changer
Many retailers understand analytics worth and invest accordingly, often having dedicated teams and sophisticated software to help drive better business decisions.
However alongside this there is a need for more of those on the ‘frontline’ to have access to data too. For many organisations the time it takes to extract the analytics can create a lag and mean it’s not being leveraged to its full potential. Yet by democratising data to all of the team it means everyone from senior managers to product managers are able to have the clear insight that can help carry out more effective operations.
But the challenge is for many that data software and systems are archaic and not suitable for everyone.
Tech makes it easier for all
Now there are solutions that enable everyone to have seamless, realtime data access.Software such as Veezoo means business can get answers and insights from existing databases in the most natural way: by asking questions. . For example you can now ask a simple question to get an answer such as “How many pies did we sell on Sundays in March?” The answer is then returned within seconds allowing that team member to have valuable information immediately as well as the chance to ask follow up questions.
What we are now seeing is that many companies see the benefit of everyone using this data across all personnel. In lots of cases it’s reshaped the way that the teams make decisions and has become more intertwined in their day to day thinking and tasks. I’d encourage all retailers to make sure that data access is available across the team and is ingrained in the culture as a key driver of business growth and survival.