Co-creation in the channel
As goes the service provider and enterprise business, so goes the channel. The coming year will see companies big and small take on new levels of agility thanks to virtualised networks. As a result, we expect to see channel partners transform their business models and work closely with service providers to design, build and deploy new virtualised network services.
Murali Nadarajah, CEO, Xchanging Malaysia (pic) said it was time for retail to more closely exploit analytics:
It's never been easier for customers to get what they want: from the Internet to social media to mobile and, of course, in-store, shoppers can purchase virtually anything they want anytime from anywhere. According to a recent report released by On Device Research earlier this year, there are currently more than 10 million smartphone users in the country. Given this advantage, e-commerce has a huge growing potential in Malaysia. Euromonitor International also expects the Malaysian e-commerce market to grow to RM1.9 billion [US$540 million] by 2016.
While the news is encouraging to many retailers, most of them face the tough challenge of how to revamp business strategies to reach and engage a wider pool of connected shoppers. Vying for consumer favour is also important as purchasing power is reduced by the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015. As such, it is important for business owners to look into the ways of enhancing a shopper's experience to not only keep customers interested, but to sustain business within an increasingly competitive market.
The most effective way would be to analyse the vast pool of customer data that retailers could gather through the multiple purchasing channels. To understand how the buyer expects to be "spoken to" in today's omni-channel world, whether through a smartphone app, store associate or live chat online, retailers can now reach new depths in understanding customer shopping patterns and desires. By analysing this data, retailers can better predict consumer behaviour and respond in real-time to consumers' individual needs.
Following are the types of analytics that retailers should be paying close attention to this holiday season, all of which could hold the key to not only improving the customer experience, but increasing operational efficiency and profits, as well.
Predictive Analytics for a More Customized Customer Experience
The traditional "one size fits all" approach can no longer address the unique requirements of today's empowered and informed customers, which is leading retailers to focus more on understanding customers' personal characteristics and shopping preferences. Retailers can capitalize on this shift by analysing predictive analytics, which leverages data generated from social media, feedback forms and point of sale systems to extract relevant information related to customers' preferences. By leveraging this powerful data, retailers can better manage their back-end operations by accurately forecasting future demand, creating a real-time supply chain to engage customers more effectively.
With predictive analytics, retailers are armed with detailed, customer-specific data that allows them to personalize the shopping experience for existing loyal shoppers. However, to attract new customers in today's hyper-connected world where they are constantly bombarded with messages from a variety of channels, it's more difficult than ever to grab - and keep - their attention.
By leveraging marketing and customer analytics, retailers can reign in these difficult-to-reach customers. How? By closely analysing real-time customer data - obtained through sentiment analysis and understanding motivators of buyer behaviour to predict their response - to collect detailed insights on customer preferences and introduce targeted marketing campaigns by varying the look, messaging and tone for the intended customer set.