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Retail data and the omni-channel consumer

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Social Business Manager, IBM

Flashback to 1982: me, eyes wide, thumbing through an encyclopedia-sized retail catalog ahead of the holiday shopping season. If I wanted something, I simply folded the page and returned the book to my mom. When the season was over, the whole catalog—crumpled from chosen items such as lawnmowers, cardigans and bedsheets—went into the garbage.

Me today: if I’m buying something, I touch at least five websites from department stores to marketplaces, read product reviews, check my email for a promo code (or Google for it) and join shopper loyalty programs, all before setting foot in the store. While in the shop, I use the coupons I’ve printed out from in-store savings centers—and if I’m curious, I’ll compare big-ticket items to see if another store has a better deal.

http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/sites/default/files/retaildata_blog.jpgWhat does this say about my path to purchase? It’s a lot more complicated and time-consuming than it used to be, but well worth it in the end if I feel like I’ve snagged the best value for my money.

What else can retailers learn from shoppers like me?

  1. Shopper marketing isn’t as one-note as it used to be. Retailers can’t count on hunches alone to predict the next great product launch or put a giant billboard by the highway hoping I’ll see it and—this is key—converting on that one advertising placement. Consumers now leave a whole volume of retail data behind, and it’s up to retailers to seize that data to personalize my retail experience and make me a loyal consumer.
  2. Omni-channel messaging should be your rule, and not your exception. Think of how many devices’ sites, offers and apps you touch personally each day. And today, there’s a blurred line between work and play, so advertisers can reach consumers while at work on their smartphones and target ads. Use this as an opportunity to interface with the right message and right offer.
  3. Take the retail insight and run with it. When I’m at a certain beauty store, I tend to purchase a specific kind of shampoo and conditioner together, and often in multiples if they happen to be on sale (or if I’ve earned enough rewards points to make it worth my while). It doesn’t take any retail analysis to understand my transaction cycles—it’s all there in the store’s database, unlike those department store catalogs from a previous time.

At IBM Insight 2015, hear from leading retailers about how to harness the data you’ve collected to capture key retail analytics in real time and build the right shopper marketing message every time. One such retail marketer will also be revealing its plans to build a data warehouse that manages a majority of shoppers’ purchase history and individual needs, centralizes analytics intelligence and dramatically increases its analytics productivity and sophistication.

Register for IBM Insight, taking place in Las Vegas from 25–29 October.