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Retail Ascendant: The Necessity of Speed to Succeed in Retail

On April 16, 2019, over a hundred retail and marketing executives came together for Retail Ascendant in New York. The Outlier team was present and enjoyed a day of candid, yet thoughtful conversations on the current opportunities and challenges of some of the world’s top retail brands.

Speed is paramount

We are in the age of speed. The faster we can do something the better. Retailers are working tirelessly to increase speed across all aspects of their customer experience and internal operations. They are working on increasing the speed at which they get new products to market, the speed of their checkout, the speed of their fulfillment and shipping methods, as well as, the speed at which they have insights about their customers and business.

Cost is still a top concern to implement technology

Investments in technology are expensive and often complicated for retailers, especially when there are multiple systems running across different selling verticals. Many retailers are developing a technology-focused approach throughout their organizations by maintaining and upgrading technologies. This is an essential part of positive growth for established retailers as the success of direct-to-consumer brands skyrockets. Building a Martech stack that is a unified source of data is also essential to have a complete view of your customers.

Test programs help ease implementation before a long-term investment commitment

To help onboard other members of the organization on the necessity and value of new technologies, many retailers are running tests or pilot programs with prospective technologies before committing to a long term investment. This allows the organization to have support for integrating these new technologies into the organization’s day-to-day operations from the top down, which has been shown to have a direct correlation to the future use and success of technology integrations within the company.

Retail data is growing exponentially… STILL

With more technology partners, comes more data. For retailers, more data can simultaneously be overwhelming and time-consuming. It is difficult to gain actionable insights from so much data. At times more questions than answers are coming out of the massive amounts of data that are now available. Many retail marketers have found success by taking a step back from their data and asking what they would need to see from the data for a specific marketing idea to work or not work. And other retailers are utilizing Automated Business Analysis, such as Outlier, to help them manage their data volume and find actionable insights within their data.

Without customers, we don’t exist

Despite the challenges of data, the fact remains that data is the most powerful tool available to retailers as you can learn so much about your customer, their behaviors, likes, dislikes, and then market to them in the most impactful and efficient way possible. Intimately knowing customers life interests and behaviors allows you to deliver experiences that are connected to the brand, and personalized, but not purely transactional. These life connections to a brand have proven to increase brand loyalty, as well as, the number of individual transactions made by customers. Retailers are also exploring ways to incorporate their own customers into their marketing materials is a special way to directly connect with, and become a part of, their customer base.

Automated Business Analysis helps to understand customer behaviors through the quick analysis

At the intersection of technology and data is Outlier. With Outlier’s Automatic Business Analysis platform, we help our customers automate their business analysis by monitoring data in real-time and identifying outliers, or unexpected happenings, in their data. At Retail Ascendant, one of the panel discussions featured Doug Mitarotonda, Outlier’s Head of Analysis and Yasemin Akcakaya, Director of Loyalty and Personalization at CVS Health. With active audience participation, they discussed how to use data learnings to effectively engage shoppers based on their behavior. Retailers must continuously engage their customers to stay relevant and top of mind. Engaging them in the most efficient way possible is key, but the proper analysis of customer data can ensure that engagement and marketing efforts are as efficient as possible. The challenge of analyzing vast amounts of data and building out large data scientist teams was noted throughout the panel. If you want to find unexpected changes in your data, check out a retail demo or sign up for a retail webinar.