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The pivot retailers took through the pandemic and the data battles that followed

Matt Stokes

It has been a very turbulent time for the retail industry over the last 18 months. For most bricks and mortar retailers there has had to be a massive pivot from instore shopping to online or a delivery-based service. These bricks and mortar retailers formed two camps before Covid, they either had an online shop, where on average they would generate around 20% of sales online, or they had no online presence at all. 

Those with no website had to almost create one overnight to ensure their survival and not be another one of the almost 50 shops a day that have disappeared from our highstreet during 2021.  

The value of each individual visiting their website became of critical importance, but the insight gained from each visit is what tends to get lost in the transition.  Let’s take a look into this in more detail. 

When a customer goes shopping, they use a loyalty card - the customer turns up to the store and the retailer knows who they are, where they live, what they buy on a regular basis etc, they slice this together with other data sources to get an overview of the customer. This is the traditional way that retailers work. As soon as covid hit some organisations had to pivot being 100% online, there became a whole host of additional information the retailer can now utilise from the customer - dwell time, what did they click on next, geography, what are their cookies saying? It is completely different getting to know your customer online compared to a traditional bricks and mortar retailer approach. 

What became immediately apparent was that all the information the retailer was now collecting was either not being stored or was in a different source that business users had no immediate access to. This made it extremely hard for retailers to market to their customers, to understand what products are selling well and why, which demographic was purchasing what etc. The bottom line is that It is one thing to pivot to an online presence, but it was entirely different process to collect the analytics associated to the sale.  

A lot of the projects I have delivered recently within the retail sector highlights that there is an enormous amount of data  being generated by their customers buying behaviours, but this data is useless if you’re not deriving the right insight from it.  

In summary a single view of your customers Journey has become incredibly important to the success of modern retail and if you don’t have or are not working towards a solution to the problem its very likely your competitors have or are working towards one to gain a competitive advantage. 

Are you struggling with the management of your data?  Contact Coeo today to see if we might be able to help you - info@coeo.com  

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