Retail used to be a relatively straightforward industry. In the past, malls, town centers, and commercial districts would provide the primary point of contact between consumers and their preferred brands. Today, however, retail has become an omnichannel industry, allowing shoppers to interact with brands through any physical or digital channel that’s most convenient to them.
This shift gives consumers great freedom and flexibility in deciding both how they will interact with brands, and which retailers they ultimately shop with. This has changed the operational structure of most retailers, as they have to embrace both physical and digital channels to drive sales and loyalty, rather than choosing one over the other.
Retailers must reorganize to meet customers on their terms
For instance, retailers that are closing physical storefronts may give off the perception that their business is suffering, when in reality they are actually adapting to new trends. By utilizing customer data, a particular retailer may have decided that a lean brick-and-mortar operation and expanded focus on their online storefront makes more financial sense than the old model.
That isn’t to say that all brands embracing digital are necessarily doing omnichannel correctly. While on social media, for instance, a consumer may be bombarded with targeted advertising from a brand that they’ve shopped with once or twice in the past. But, if this advertising is more of an annoyance than an enticement, is this retailer actually succeeding in marketing, and ultimately selling, their product? Is this retailer actually succeeding in building brand loyalty, or driving traffic to their store, and ultimately selling their product?
Location Intelligence can help drive critical business changes
A lot of what is driving the big decisions in retail is Location Intelligence harvested from customer data, which is easier to harness today than ever before. The retailer deciding to scale back on their brick-and-mortar branches, for example, may have studied buyer habits and seen that the customers they most want to target have a proclivity for browsing products on their phones.
On the flipside of that scenario, the brand that’s bombarding users with ads on social media may be casting too wide of a net, turning off customers who are less receptive to targeted advertising without nurturing more appropriate ways of outreach, a result of a lack a lack of insight into each customer as an individual and their buying history, including location and channel.
Location Intelligence also provides the means for brands to grow, not just reorganize. Retailers can now collect information from many resources to inform their Location Intelligence initiatives. Card Transactions have geotags, for example, that can help retailers figure out not only which of their physical stores are performing best, but also where geographically their buyers are more likely to shop online. Taking that a step further, retailers can even decipher which online shopping portals customers are utilizing to align their marketing efforts alongside the most profitable channels.
Looking at regional competition can help inform a retailer’s entry into a new market. At the same time, costs associated with transporting stock between a warehouse and a storefront can be calculated based on distance, potentially making or breaking a real estate decision. The challenge with the deluge of big data for retailers is extracting actionable insights that fit alongside a brand’s specific business needs.
To learn more about how retailers can utilize Location Intelligence to improve their bottom line and customer experience, download the new whitepaper, “Optimize Your Selling Channel,” from Retail Customer Experience, sponsored by Pitney Bowes. In it, the author takes a deep dive into the different opportunities for retailers to embrace an omnichannel retail landscape to better serve the customers they want.