This is part two of Asif Khetani’s list from BT Expedite of 10 trends that they believe retailers need to pay particular attention to in order to make the most of the year ahead. To see part one and the first five trends click here.
- The effect of the big Cloud players in the retail market
The rise of cloud storage services is making a huge difference across the business world and the retail sector is getting in on the action as well. Cloud is no longer just about cost reduction and convenience; agility and tangible business benefits are now some of the main reasons why many of the big cloud players are making a move into the retail industry. Cloud storage also enables big data marketing where retailers can use the information that would otherwise lie fallow to profile users through semantic analysis and algorithms, link users to products, tailor their communications as appropriate and use the algorithm created to enhance quality, and the bottom-line.
- The continued importance of the mobile platform
According to some experts, mobile is the new shop window. It is arguably the most important piece of real estate in retail but a surprising amount of retailers are ill-prepared to make the most of what this platform has to offer. With 52% of time spent shopping online now done on mobile, failure to provide a customer experience to match other channels means retailers risk missing out on vital sales as a result of a an expensive act of omission.
- Retailers need to be more serious about PCI
Payment cards remain a prime target for hackers and retailers are experiencing data breaches at an increasing rate. Despite this, many retailers still fail to put in place the right infrastructure to stop these breaches. Of those that do, many of them still see PCI DSS (the payment card industry data security standard) as a tick box exercise and do not implement the appropriate compliance and security measures as they were intended. Retailers need to rethink how they factor in maintaining a PCI-compliant environment, whether it’s devoting more resources or working with a managed security services provider. If this doesn’t happen, retailers risk significant financial and reputational damages.
- The increasing use and benefits of customer analytics
In an increasingly saturated market, retailers are turning to sophisticated analytics tools to foster customer loyalty. Retailers are under increased pressure to analyse data in real-time and are, in turn, looking for more from their business intelligence software or business analyst.. The use of prescriptive data analytics is also of particular interest, as it gives retailers more choice in terms of actioning insight from consumer data, by recommending one or more courses of action – and showing the likely outcome of each decision.
- Delivery and fulfilment
Retailers spend so much time (let alone marketing spent) on creating fans of their respective businesses. To let the customer down by not being able to deliver against the brand promise brings all that effort into question. Retailers cannot afford to let these failures happen again. Otherwise, they face the unwanted challenge of reassuring customers and rebuilding confidence. Retailers need to either work on fine-tuning existing structures or explore new ones to ensure that customers are kept onside.