By Ashish Parmar

The retail industry is booming, it is not an over statement at all. However, there is another side of the story too. Today’s customers are no more those traditional customers who had limited alternatives in their localities and usually had high brand loyalty ratio. The digitalization has changed everything. If we say, it has given a paradigm shift to the way people shop, it is not inaccurate. The internet has given enormous power in the hands of the customers and retail companies have to ensure that they evolve with the time to get the competitive edge over others.

If you, being a retailer, want to survive and thrive in the industry, you need to offer superior shopping experiences to the users along with the products and services you offer. Physical stores are replaced by online e-commerce portals where customers have thousands of options and varieties of brands to choose from. If you don’t have unique offerings for them, they will simply switch to your rivals in just no time. The potential is high. As per the research by Mordor Intelligence, the total valuation of the retail industry will cross $31880.8 billion by 2023.

Furthermore, most of the retail players are introducing mobile apps to give more comfort and accessibility to the customers. As per the report by eMarketer, consumers have an average of 6 to 10 retail mobile apps in their smartphones.

The retail industry is invariably evolving with the technology, but still, small and medium-sized retailers are facing some challenges to compete with the giants like Amazon and Wallmart. These big names are steadily coming up with new technologies and tools to serve the customers in a better manner.

What are the challenges these Small and Medium-Sized Retailers face?

  • Mostly, due to a restricted budget, these small and medium-sized retailers fail to offer a high-quality shopping experience for the users. It might even encourage loyal customers to switch sides. It is the biggest challenge for retailers.
  • In addition to that, they often fail to predict what their customers are expecting from their stores. Understanding the perceptions of the customers is a very crucial thing in the retail sector.
  • They cannot spend more on marketing and promotion strategies and plans.
  • They also lack resources to identify profitable customers or customers who have future high potential.

The Solution – Big Data Analytics

Nowadays, customers don’t just want good products, they want convenience, comfort and exceptional shopping experience and personalized products and offers too. In addition to that, they can compare prices, features, and specifications at any time to make a decision. This paradigm shift in consumers’ buying patterns has forced retailers across the globe to invest in technologies and tools that can streamline the operations and improve the customer experience.

Big Data is nothing but a group of datasets that help retailers to analyze and evaluate gigantic data collected from several sources to understand trends, past buying patterns and other essential aspects of the customers to design customized offers and services to them. Especially in the retail industry, Big Data Analytics can aid retailers to a great extent.

In this post, we will discuss how Big Data can help retailers to thrive and get a competitive edge.

Price Optimization:

Price optimization is crucial for the retailers to attract more visitors and Big Data can help you to do that smartly. All you need to do is to use algorithms that can provide you a deep insight about how your competitors are doing, what is the demand flow and how to come up with superior offers to lure customers. Unlike how it was earlier, when retailers used to increase or decrease prices based on assumptions and predictions, they have real-time data and demand information to optimize prices accordingly.

Understanding the Customers:

In the era of digitalization, customers are the real kings who actually decide the fate of any company. To carve a niche for yourself, you need to understand what customers feel. There are may in-depth information Big Data can offer to you with predictive analytics such as their buying patterns, past purchase records, their reactions to offers and promotional schemes and many more. This information will surely help you to design advertisements accordingly. It also improves the chance to interact with customers individually by offering unique custom offerings to them.

Also, by utilizing social media interactions, retailers can get insights into how they react to specific advertisements. In short, Big Data helps you to understand your customers’ buying patterns and reactions to facilitate them more improved shopping experience.

Forecasting Various Trends:

What would be the demand of the specific products in the future? Where to centralize all the efforts? Where to allocate resources to gain optimum performance? These answers can help retailers to design a strategy accordingly. Big Data can help you to foresee the demands and patterns by facilitating demographic data and economic indicators.

Designing Promotional Strategies:

So, you have invested millions in advertisements and promotions, but how would you know whether these advertisements have reached to the right audience or not? Well, it does not happen often, but with Big Data, it is possible. There is much critical information that you might have missed always, but become an important buying factor; for example: extreme weather conditions. With such crucial information on your hand, you can amend your advertisements accordingly and make amends for delivering them to demographically influencing customers to drive sales and revenues.

Better Product Recommendations:

You have in-depth information about customers’ previous buying records, preferences and buying patterns. With such critical data, you can certainly give customized product recommendations to the customers at the right time. There are many customers who shop when festivals are around. If you have information about such buying patterns, it will surely give you a chance to encash the opportunity by offering relevant product recommendations at right time. In addition to that, you can also design customized promotions for the customers after carefully analyzing their past browsing history and other data sources.

Optimizing e-commerce:

Today, every business that has gone online knows how rewarding improving customer experience for e-Commerce business strategies is. By skilfully evaluating various details of the customers such as online behaviour, social media shares, browsing history, and past shopping patterns, you can optimize your e-commerce websites to gain more traffic and conversions. An attractive and splendidly designed e-commerce website too improves the shopping experience.

Big Data offers retailers an opportunity to streamline their strategies and operations to boost online shopping experience of customers. The retail industry where the competition is merciless, Big Data earns brownie points for you by offering you valuable data inputs and critical insights. With the introduction of the Internet of Things technology, Voice Assistants, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, retailers can further give more pleasant shopping experiences to the customers.

Ashish Parmar is the CEO of Prismetric – one of the reliable Mobile App Development Companies. An enthusiastic entrepreneur, interested to discuss new app ideas, rich gadget tricks and trends, and admires signature tech business styles to readily embrace. @Prismetric

Big data stock photo by Elnur/Shutterstock