How smart retailers turn data into differentiation

Global Director, Distribution Sector Marketing, IBM

While some things haven’t changed in the world of retail merchandising, there are new tools that are changing how smart merchants and marketers are getting the four Ps (product, pricing, promotion and placement) right (see figure). Product assortment and pricing are the key to every retailer’s brand. 

In a world where merchandise is often indistinguishable, merchants struggle with the challenge of offering a specific set of products, often with short lifecycles and constant promotions, across multiple geographies and customer touch points. All efforts to meet these challenges appeal to an increasingly empowered and discriminating consumer.

The abundance of data to which advanced analytics can be applied is a critical way to increase sales, grow margins and anticipate customer demand. A data-driven approach informs better, and more dynamic, decisions on pricing, product range and suppliers than other approaches. Smart retailers blend science and the art of merchandising by putting actionable analytics right into the hands of merchants and marketers, which results in well-suited product, pricing, promotion and placement decisions.

Analyzing internal data and external sources as diverse as Twitter, Facebook and The Weather Channel drive a deep understanding of buyer propensity and the influencers of demand. The most desirable and profitable products, touch points, locations, events and promotions are put into place.

This approach allows merchants and marketers to offer a differentiated assortment that meets the needs and wants of customers while driving profitable growth through enhanced category management and assortment decisions. I can’t think of anything more important than offering a differentiated assortment when today’s consumers have so many choices on where—and how—to buy, rent or borrow goods and services. Can you?

IBM is set to make an important announcement about industry-specific analytics solutions. Join us for the video announcement on May 28, 2015.