As the grocery industry goes digital, truckloads of data are pouring in for marketers to organize, contextualize, analyze and activate. Between media networks, ecommerce, digital offers, loyalty programs, frictionless checkout and other digital forms of doing business, there are more opportunities to and leverage collect customer insights than ever before. In a recent survey, 79% of respondents agreed that data sharing had become more important since the onset of the pandemic.
But with new opportunities comes a big challenge: how to manage the heaps of raw information now available to marketers and turn it into the right insights?
New opportunities with data
The pressure is on to personalize, but many top players are going a step further with shopping data to project into the future. Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner shared at GroceryShop 2022 that the retail behemoth is investing in predictive analytics to anticipate customer preferences and better respond to shifts in shopper behavior. (Source)
The more predictive insights you have, the more equipped you are to strengthen supplier relationships, gain influence and manage inventory levels. Forty-one percent of survey respondents identified out-of-stocks and low on shelf availability (OSA) as significant supply chain challenges. Moving forward, suppliers are willing to pay good money for customer data from retailers that would help get ahead of supply chain issues: 51% of suppliers indicated plans to make such a purchase in the next three years.
… and new challenges
But to capitalize on new opportunities like predictive analytics, you first have to gather raw data and turn it into insights. And for most grocers, the sheer quantity of data is overwhelming. You must be able to gather and unite information from multiple sources like loyalty programs, email, website, apps, POS transactions, online sales, demographics, and responses to promotions. Otherwise, you’re stuck in the “data dump” without actionable insights.
Beyond the quantity challenge, there are also sources of a more qualitative nature to consider. Data sources like social media interactions, online reviews or calls from a call center typically get ignored altogether because they are too unstructured and complex for relational systems to evaluate (since they don’t fit neatly into columns or rows). Finally, while customer profiles are a huge end goal of data collection and analysis, don’t forget about other information like insights into your local market or geospatial data that can help you determine product assortment, store location, layout and more.
Even if you have the necessary mechanisms to collect all the data you need and create truly comprehensive customer profiles, you may not have the analytical capabilities to leverage it. Many statistical models for predicting future purchases and responses to promotions rely on a limited set of demographic and transactional data. In other words, they don’t incorporate the depth of data now available to grocers and other retailers.
There are other challenges to consider at the activation phase. For example, can you leverage real-time data or does your organization still rely on batch data? Timeliness is everything: delayed promotional offers create redemption rates less than 1% whereas real-time offers can yield upwards of 60-70% redemption.
Clear out the data dump with the right data platform (and partner)
The first step in overcoming the “data dump” challenge is a quality data platform. The right solution will help you unite data across silos and multiple customer touchpoints like POS data, email, SMS, mobile purchases, online ordering, loyalty and rewards membership, and more. From there, you can begin to form robust customer profiles and personas that you can segment to begin targeting, personalization and operational improvements. SKU-level purchase histories are also useful when determining inventory levels, improving store layout and other operational improvements.
Working with a solutions partner to handle some of the complexity of gathering, analyzing and leveraging the full range of data sources at your disposal is an increasingly popular choice for retailers looking to cash in on targeted marketing opportunities. According to Coresight Research, solutions providers play a key role in helping retailers create a “single insightful data stream,” with the potential to generate .1% to 1.0% of total sales in data revenue.
Activate your potential with Bridg
We offer a data and audience platform that allows brick-and-mortar retailers to identify, understand and engage ALL customers from loyalty to non-loyalty and offline to online. We help our customers build unified, privacy-safe profiles of all customers with SKU-level purchase history and hundreds of demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes that power analytics, targeted marketing and closed-loop measurement. Plus, our intuitive UI makes it easy to create audiences based on the attributes of your choice, then distribute to your platform of choice for omni-channel activation.
Ready to turn mountains of data into measurable outcomes? Contact us today to learn more.