Three Big Takeaways from Retail’s Big Show in NYC
More than 30,000 industry leaders, professionals and product and service providers were on hand in mid-January for what is considered the retail industry’s equivalent of the Super Bowl. Held annually in New York City, the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” is four days of education, networking and opportunities to learn about the technology that’s fundamentally changing the retail landscape. A few of the consistent themes we noticed centered on building analytic cultures within organizations, benefiting from the blizzard of data and analytics available to retailers and targeting customers via multiple channels to get them onto your website and into your stores. Below are a few of the insights we picked up from the conference speakers, forums, panels, sessions and from the 500+ companies in the Expo Hall.
Takeaway #1: Data, Data Everywhere. But What To Do With It All?
Retailers need to focus on each individual business unit and pinpoint the data that’s right for that particular part of the business and not get caught up in all of the collective noise around big data and analytics. Data is a game-changer when understood and applied correctly. There is so much data, but also so few resources to manage and decide which of it is relevant. Inventory management, merchandising, fulfillment, mobile tracking, search engine optimization, in-store shopper behavior, consumer trends, 360-degree customer views, personalization and competitive intelligence are just some of the areas various companies can collect unprecedented amounts of data on. Certain data sources are incredibly helpful when matched with the right business unit, so retailers need to keep an open mind about new products, services and solutions, such as merchandising analytics, that are now available to them in abundance.
Takeaway #2: In-Store Analytics
Transactional data sources like Ynext Data have opportunity to be the source for unbiased, inference-free transaction data that powers all PaaS companies within retail. Development of in-store analytics is still in the early innings as platform providers and retailers continue to identify and quantify the exact metrics needed to arrive at a meaningful conversion rate number. There’s a reason there are so many platforms providing granular store analytics. Retail operation teams aren’t early technology adopters in general and data in specific. As a result, each company provides its own platform, yet none of the platforms talk to one another. The learning curve for retailers, as well as the switching cost from one platform to another, is high.
Takeaway #3: Creating a Culture of Analytics
Adapt or suffer the consequences. Don’t completely abandon the old way of doing things, but teach innovation, analytics and get employees thinking about how data can benefit the business. It’s impossible to ignore how technology is moving our economy. It’s also hard to overlook the companies propelling the economy to new levels of insights and knowledge about how consumers behave While many argue that large retailers have been slow to adopt new technologies, it’s also possible they’re just having a difficult time keeping up with an industry that’s advancing at light speed. That’s understandable, but in order to compete, these companies need to adapt to an analytical and data-driven culture, and it needs to start with the executive leadership team before trickling down to in-store associates. Forward-thinking companies are implementing innovation labs and hiring consulting companies to help drive this change in culture. Ynext Data can’t necessarily help retailers with all of the challenges outlined above, but our data can certainly help in better understanding who a retailer’s customers are, where they’re shopping, making optimal site selections for new stores and where loyalty and partnership opportunities exist. Learn more about how we can help make your data more useful.