ARA Retailer Magazine 60 February 2018



RETAIL GETS UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL IN 2018 Leveraging customer information to deliver the ultimate personalised shopping experience delivers online retail success.


S ome of the monumental technology shifts that have occurred in online retail over the last few years will continue to be highly influential in 2018. Early adopters are already benefitting from their investments in the areas of marketing and sales automation, customer journey mapping, integrated systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), big data and machine learning. The challenge now is the gap between technology and personalisation. Closing this gap will help retailers of any size build a strong competitive advantage. FOLLOW THE DATA TRAIL FOR INSIGHT The channels consumers use, such as social, web and mobile furnish retailers with massive amounts of data about their customers. When that data is overlaid with the demographic and psychographic information, deep connections can be made about the cause and effect of buyer behaviours. The key question retailers need to keep top of mind is: How can this data become foresight that helps engage the right customers, with the right product, at the right time?

MAKE IT PERSONAL TO SEAL THE DEAL Fuelled by these actionable insights,

Software for marketing and sales automation, fully integrated ERP for operations, supply chain and CRM, supported by sophisticated business intelligence is helping retailers do just that. Powerful and tightly integrated solutions enable retailers to engage more directly and then draw insights from each interaction with the uber- informed, online customer. These tools also enable an omni-channel approach, helping to gather and consolidate information from a myriad of sales channels (physical and

generation and sales as these targets are already highly engaged (or sales ready) and therefore

Chris Stolke is the Manager and Head Digital Strategist at Pronto Woven, a unique one stop digital marketing solution provider for everything including integrated e-commerce solutions. Chris is passionate about guiding businesses of all sizes towards a sensible and innovative approach in terms of managing their Digital Strategy. Learn more at

personalisation is expected to reach the next level of sophistication through the use of deep learning technologies. The creation of predictive models about customer preferences, habits and behaviour is something that would not have been available using traditional methods of market research. It unlocks enormous value in personalising customer journeys across all retail sales channels. With data and the right integrated tools, successful retailers are creating a

more likely to be interested in the information the retailer shares.

Seamless integration between platforms is allowing retailers to build a more holistic picture of their target markets and create a deep understanding of why customers buy and what they buy. +

Fully integrated systems also enhance operations in traditional bricks-and-mortar sales channels. When a consumer is shopping in-store, they may make use of complimentary Wi-Fi, which can identify them as a regular customer and tie their presence in the shop together with interactions they may have had on other channels such as social and offer them relevant promotions. The next 12 months will be a period of consolidation, as retailers learn how to capitalise on innovative solutions and the new growth opportunities they enable. Powerful technologies such as CRM, marketing automation, integrated ERP and BI solutions will help retailers get up-close and personal with their consumers so that they can gain a sustainable competitive advantage. 

conversation with a retailer’s bot who will ‘know’ their entire sales history, location and buying preferences, right down to their taste in colours, favourite brands and size. This is something even the most well-trained or experienced retail assistant would struggle to achieve. The bot can then present the customer with relevant items, helping them find the best options quickly – and then complete the purchasing transaction with the customer. Another avenue is social selling or the use of social networks to locate, connect, understand and nurture sales opportunities. By doing so, sales and customer service teams can supply offers and promotions that are incredibly personalised to reflect the customer’s specific needs. As a result, this can accelerate both lead

virtual) used by consumers. This seamless integration between platforms is allowing retailers to build a more holistic picture of their target markets and create a deep understanding of why customers buy and what they buy. This understanding is then ready to be funnelled into sales forecasts, product design, marketing messages and personalised communications to further fuel your business growth.

completely new standard of customer engagement. They go the extra mile to personalise interactions, they make a customer feel valued and they generate positive associations with the brand. One such experience is a personal shopper bot with a conversational user interface (CUI). A customer can have a



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