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The data dichotomy – how retailers can satisfy today’s consumers


The data dichotomy – how retailers can satisfy today’s consumers


Many retailers are familiar with the importance of both in-store and online consumer data, however few truly understand the value of combining the two. SAS’ retail expert breaks it down.

This article was sponsored by SAS to let readers know about its new ebook on omnichannel analytics »

Retailers are aware of the increasing importance of their online store. If you’re not connecting with your customers online, you’re missing opportunities and giving your competitors an easy advantage.

This has become evident in recent Australian consumer trends:

  • 85% of Australians are connected to the internet and 12.1 million use social media,
  • in 2017 online shopping increased by 10%, while in-store traffic increased by just 3%,
  • global ecommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, and
  • Australians are currently sitting in tenth position for ecommerce sales worldwide.

While some retailers may be considering focusing on their online store by closing store front doors – the bricks-and-mortar experience still holds a strong place in shoppers’ hearts. Even though ecommerce grew 10 times faster than in-store retail from 2013 to 2018, overall online purchases still only accounts for 10% of sales.

“By now, most bricks-and-mortar retailers have some online and mobile channels,” explains Dan Mitchell, director of the global retail/CPG practice at SAS.

“But very rarely are they blending online sales data with bricks-and-mortar data.”

Retailers can thank technological advancement for the digital tools they now have available, providing data-driven insights into the online behaviours of their customers – from shopping cart wish lists to social media generated sales.

Less commonly spoken about is retailers’ ability to understand in-store behaviour: how much time did the customer spend inside the store? Where did they spend their time? Who were they shopping with? Where were they coming from?

Many retailers are collecting in-store consumer data using Bluetooth beacons, GPS, RFID tags, connected smartphone apps and Visible Light Communication (pulses from LED lights that connect with smart phones to provide accurate customer positions).

However, the most valuable insights for retailers are the combination of online and in-store data to enhance the customer experience.

“We know how people shop today, and that most of the customer journey involves some online element. So, blending online sales with store sales can give retailers a more sophisticated view of demand – localised all the way down to the neighbourhood around them,” continues Mitchell.


The combination

A large retailer with stores throughout the US is now the first to integrate in-store beacon technology, providing customised offerings to individual customers based on their shopping history and location within the store, using more than 5,000 beacons across 700 stores.

How exactly does the technology work?

Let’s say you have opted in to push notifications through the mobile app and enabled Bluetooth. When you walk into this retailer’s store you receive a customised welcome message based on your location in the store.

As you’re in the women’s shoes department, you receive a personalised, in-app offer. As the technology within the app understands your shopping interests, behaviour and patterns, that influences you to take a stroll through women’s handbags to purchase a purse that complements those shoes.

It’s real-time data and analytics in action that intuitively sends the right message at the right time, based on your location and shopping preference.

So how do you take all the data you’ve collected from multiple channels, then combine it with product information to improve retail operations and the customer experience? With real-time omnichannel analytics.


Download the SAS’ ebook on omnichannel analytics today to learn more »






Image credit:Markus Spiske


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