Articles in Category : Customer Centric Retailing

MANTHAN: We hear experience becoming more important than the product – is that only for high involvement categories, while the drivers in other categories might be different?

DOUG: The consumer world is now divided into two very distinctly different and viable experiential spaces.  On the one hand some brands are winning through high-fidelity experiences that are immersive, memorable and emotionally connected. Other brands are killing it in their categories with high utility experiences that are frictionless, fast, convenient and very cognitively connected – they just make sense.  Both of these positions work and both are valued by consumers. The problem is, most retailers are neither high-fidelity nor high-utility and increasingly, that makes them irrelevant.

MANTHAN: Most businesses are struggling to become truly omni-channel – what’s your advice to them?

DOUG: I suppose I have two thoughts.  First, if you’re still working on omni-channel, consider that Amazon, Google and others are already dealing in the realm of omni-presence, in the sense that they’ve launched technologies like Amazon’s Echo that are quietly infiltrating the majority of homes in North America and available to consumers 24/7. Secondly, I’m not a big fan of the word omni-channel.  I prefer to think in terms of the customer journey with a brand and the various problems or opportunities along that journey.

If we can develop an intense and granular understanding of the consumer journey we can leverage the unique attributes of each channel to create the best possible solutions for the customer.  With this insight, we can then begin to build the back and front end systems and technology architecture to bring the experience to life! 

MANTHAN: Retailers that can best harness customer data will win – how far out do you see this becoming a reality?

DOUG: 200 years ago the local merchant that knew their customers most intimately won.  And they gathered information about their customers by being discreet about their privacy, delivering personalized recommendations and experiences and by building trust.  

Today is absolutely no different.  So, yes, retailers with the best data have an advantage. But getting that data means that a clear exchange of value has to transpire.  Data and privacy are no different than any other currency and consumers will spend their data with those brands and retailers that respect it and deliver clear value in exchange for it.

“I believe we’ll see a reengineering of the economic model for retail.”

MANTHAN: What’ does the ‘store of the future’ or ‘the intelligent store’ look like to you?

DOUG: 99 percent of the retail we see around us today is a relic of the 20th century.  It’s retail that was built for a pre-digital era and a completely different consumer reality.

The store of the future in my opinion won’t be a “store”.  It will be a space that draws the shopper into a story about their brand and their products.  It will be less about the products themselves and more about productions – experiences that are interactive, immersive and fun. Technology will allow us to activate store experiences that are unique, personalized and adaptive based on unique customer preferences and needs.

Technologies built into the skeleton of the space will deliver real-time, website-like insights that will allow retailers to respond in real time to different customer groups and dynamics within the space.

Essentially, retail stores will transform from being the mini-warehouses they are today, to becoming entertainment and hospitality spaces that trade on social, physical and emotionally connected experiences.  Products will come along in the jet stream across channels. 

I also believe we’ll see a reengineering of the economic model for retail. Look for more retailers working directly with brands to create experiences  – what I call physical media –  for which they’re paid upfront, rather than being dependent on product sales.  

MANTHAN: Thank you, Doug!

Customer Centric Assortment Tuning strategies

Customer centricity has become a business imperative driven by the consumerization wave and e-tailing which provides consumers with a plethora of options to choose from. Retailers that adopt product sourcing and development strategies aligned with what the customer wants stand to have a better chance of success.”Turning customer-centric” can be achieved by investing in easy to adopt, advanced technologies that make execution a natural progression from mere static analytics.

Assortment tuning driven by Analytics

Such technologies facilitate information on customer purchase behavior across multiple channels, which then act as a feed for the creation of Customer Centric assortments for every touch-point, thereby maximizing salability. Assortment tuning has been done by merchandisers for decades, but customer centric tuning is the need of the hour. Keener understanding of the evolving market trends, local trends in buying patterns as well as the customer segments by geography, demographic and psychographic tastes is critical. This can be addressed by customer profiling and analytics that help a retailer understand customer behavior and buying patterns; and then tuning the assortment based on geography, demographics and psychographics. Gartner observes that “Without advanced analytic capabilities, retailers will not be able to compete in the digitalized marketplace”.*

But how? – Customer centricity in action

For instance, a store carrying mid range and premium goods across different age bands must be able to tune the assortment by store and season, taking into account the characteristics of consumers living near the store. If people living near the Springfield store have middle class income and are comprised of millenial buyers, then the assortment must include mid-range goods but also have some high end goods for aspiration buying. Space allocated to the fashion preferred by younger buyers should be more than the fashion preferred by baby boomers. This kind of assortment tuning needs to happen by location and channel to create a desirable experience for the consumer. Customer centric assortments are an outcome of using a collection of customer and sales data and related analytics to come up with an assortment mix, tuned by geography as well as demographic and psychographic attributes. Validity and success of the tuned assortment needs to be measured and analyzed again to improve business continuously. Thus a transformation in the way assortment is planned and managed in an information- centric culture is needed. Learn how you seamless integrate analysis and insights into action and make the shift from Product Centricity to Customer Centricity on this interactive customer centric merchandising page.

Manthan Retail Analytics and Customer Centric Assortments

Manthan Retail Analytics offers the much required link between discovery and execution with its combination of comprehensive pre-built (out-of–the box) and self-service analytics that brings to surface actionable merchandising insights. With modern business intelligence capabilities that span descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, Manthan Retail Analytics helps retailers localize assortments, design promotions, optimize pricing strategies and align product placements. All based on customer needs and preferences. This is achieved by combining customer behavior, buying patterns, geo-spatial, census data with product, sales information to predict and prescribe merchandising actions. A 3Billion, Multi-format retailer partnered with Manthan in an effort to move toward customer-centric business planning for its fashion business. Customer segmentation using Manthan’s clustering algorithm, helped the retailer reclaim an average of 5% of lost sales and reduce out-of-stocks from 7% to a more customer-friendly level. * Retailers Find Success Using Self-Service and Advanced Analytics, Robert Hetu, 24 April 2015 Assortment Optimization
Automation and Augmentation of Retail Data and Analytics | NRF 2019   Ajith Nayar     December 12, 2018  Analytics trends , Blog , Customer Centric Retailing , IOT , Merchandise Analytics , predictive analytics in retail , retail business intelligence , retail customer experience , Retail data , retail intelligence As data explodes, the human ability to manually explore data, to find out issues or opportunities, and to device tactics to address them, is becoming a thing of the past. Read more to find out how a retailer can adapt to this change....


Retail Prophet Doug Stephens Interview: The store of the future won’t be a “store”   Manthan Editorial Desk     November 12, 2018  Blog , Customer Centric Retailing , Interview , Merchandise Analytics The store of the future, in my opinion, won’t be a “store”. It will be a space that draws the shopper into a story about their brand and their products" says Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet ...


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