National Retail Foundation’s (NRF) 104th Annual Convention & EXPO is wrapping up this week. This is the flagship event for the retail industry, held annually in New York City, offering unparalleled education, collegial networking and an enormous EXPO Hall full of technologies and solutions. This year’s event was held January 11-14 and showcased several keynote themes such as how retailers can leverage fan engagement and team performance strategies and what the shift in the customer retail experience means for retailers. The keynote theme that IBM sponsored was focused on the consumerization of technology and how it has transformed how individuals, retailers and suppliers engage with one another.
In his keynote, “Unique and Distinct: The New Customer Experience,” Terry Jones (Chairman, Wayblazer, Founder, Travelocity.com and Founding Chairman, Kayak.com) discussed retailers’ unique opportunity to harness the power of new technologies to become more relevant to consumers and ultimately drive profitable growth.
This is a really interesting topic. The consumerization of technology has transformed how individuals, retailers and suppliers engage with one another. In turn, these advances have enabled new business models that solve problems and create value for companies in new ways. Organizations are discovering the power of data, analytics, cloud and engagement to catapult progress in the retail industry. In fact, a new study based on a survey of 1,089 enterprises released by the IBM Center for Applied Insights identifies the emergence of an entirely new generation of enterprise – Generation D. These enterprises differentiate themselves by:
- Infusing the majority of processes and decisions with analytics
- Tackling complex data sources and applying more predictive and prescriptive analytics
- Managing more of their data and analytics on the cloud
- Moving toward mobile and social as their primary methods of engaging customers
- Changing their culture, not just their technology
The Generation D approach correlates with better-than-average performance across a variety of key performance indicators.
One interesting insight from the study was that Generation D enterprises were 2 times as likely to engage customers via mobile and social and 2.1 times more likely to link customers, employees and partners to better engage the market. In one of the case study examples (slide 16), a retail giant needed an improved mobile app to counter competitive digital channels. The company compiles and analyzes purchasing histories and consumer feedback from individual customers. The new mobile app sends personalized coupons, reminds buyers of price-matching offers on relevant goods, and can direct in-store customers to nearby sites for out-of-stock items.
Another study by the Center underscores the growing reliance on data and analytics in the retail industry. It found that 83% of retailers are either in the pilot stage or final deployment of big data and analytics projects in their organizations.
As the Big Show winds down, organizations are getting fired up about the new customer experiences they’ll deliver in 2015, with the help of Big data and analytics.