Retail success today and going forward is dependent on customer focus—how well the retailer serves each and every shopper. Retailers can shift from a product focus to a customer focus by asking several key questions from the perspective of the customer, and then answering them. What is new today is that advances in technology enable retailers to answer these questions in new and powerful ways, providing new services and increased relevancy to each customer, with the goal of acquiring, growing and retaining customers.
Do you know me?
Shoppers today are savvy. They understand that their data is being used by a growing number of merchants to customize marketing, and they expect relevancy and personalization from retailers they do business with. So, as a retailer, do you know your customers? And not just your “customers” in general, but each individual customer.
To truly know, your customer requires data and lots of it. Of the 50 largest supermarket retailers in the U.S., 27 of them do not have significant levels of customer-identified purchase data. Without that data, it’s impossible to know each customer’s favorite products, meaningful price points, how often they are shopping, and whether they are a first-time shopper or long-time customer.
Do you provide me meaningful savings on products I want to buy?
What is a meaningful—and motivating—deal for one shopper may be ignored by the next. Competition is too fierce, and marketing funds too sparse to not make marketing spend as effective as possible. Mass promotion simply does not provide the best ROI today, not when cost-effective tools are available to retailers of nearly any size to deliver meaningful savings to each and every customer.
Providing meaningful savings on products relevant for each customer represents a powerful shift in focus for retail success. Rather than starting with the products, vendors want to promote the brand and are hoping that some potential shoppers will find the brand and price point appealing. Leading retailers are starting with the customer, using AI and machine learning to predict what each customer will be looking for—and then providing it.
Do you help me find the products I’m searching for?
Imagine guiding each shopper to the products they are searching for using a Google Maps-like service. That’s the experience that leading retailers are providing their shoppers, making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for in the store. And, when searching in the app or online, customers can find personalized search results driven by big data collected by the retailer for the individual customer.
And there’s more: Health & wellness programs are becoming personalized as retailers enable their shoppers to filter the store-level products by specific health conditions. For instance, the shopper with hypertension being able to, with a click of a button, understand all the products across the store that are beneficial to them individually.
Do you help me discover new products and savings relevant to me?
Supermarket retailers have the opportunity today to surprise and delight their shoppers by providing recommendations on new products that they believe will be of interest to each customer. The typical supermarket today has thousands of products available at a discount at any given time. New capabilities can automatically understand and communicate relevant products and savings to each individual customer every day. Helping customers discover meaningful savings leads to improved sales, shopping visits, and increased customer lifetime value. Thus leading to retail success.