In a year defined by operational challenges and disruption, changes in consumer behavior challenged the retail industry to test their online capabilities.
Decreasing in store traffic and increasing online demand also created its own set of operational challenges. Supply chains struggled to handle new volumes, curbside pick-up and last mile distribution demands—all of which hit hard and fast. Learning how to reinvent in a fraction of the time became the new way of operating. Processes that used to take months of decision-making were now being reduced to just weeks, days or even hours.
Whether it’s the change in customer preferences or transformations to contactless payment options, the need for speed is key to keep up. From predicting and forecasting trends to enhancing customer experiences, big data analytics will play a significant role in shaping the future of the retail industry.
The Emergence of Personal Commerce
According to Forbes, an increase in frictionless buying environments on social media, where a patron can go from “discovery to purchase without ever having to leave the platform” is paving the way for retail brands to move from “the age of personalization” to the “age of personal commerce.”
With new platforms to contend with, having the right data is critical to target the right prospects and personalize their experience; this, in turn, can increase performance and boost ROI on your marketing efforts. Accurately tying a customer’s digital footprint to your store’s footprint will be key.
Location, Location, Location
However, this is just one side of the data equation. In this new environment where brick-and-mortar shopping is less popular, managing your stores’ locations and operations will be critical. Property-based data is a vital piece of the puzzle in the decisioning process for finding new site locations, de-selecting locations or identifying alternative uses for current properties within a portfolio, including considerations for last mile delivery.
And these days, with increased migration, it can be more difficult to predict the right store location. Many have uprooted and migrated to different part of the country to either reduce costs of living or have a more flexible location with work-from-home changes. New York and California witnessed the highest emigration. This has been paired with increased housing demand. According to CoreLogic® Chief Economist Frank Nothaft, the demographic tailwind has arrived as Generation X and millennials drive housing demand. Lower-priced home values increased about one and a half times faster than higher-priced home values in November 2020, as first-time buyers tend to seek out homes within the lower price ranges.
Keeping abreast of these trends is critical in keeping tabs on where your target audience is and how they’re living.
Shifting from Reactive to Proactive
As the world moves faster and business keeps changing, retail establishments that wish to remain competitive need to progress beyond just keeping up to leading the pack. A large part of that is staying ahead of the curve in recognizing these social, geographic and economic trends and tailwinds—and using that intelligence to make smarter business decisions. Data and analytics tools and modeling capabilities can provide insights that keep you ahead of the game.
It’s not just enough to have data. From targeting the right prospects and building bespoke shopping experiences to understanding the real estate and lifestyle trends occurring that can inform where and how to do business, deriving insights from data is key to accelerating your business.
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