Making a purchase can be a complete experience for the consumer today. The brands of the retail sector are striving more and more that their customers live a process that goes beyond observing and testing a product. Some of them have achieved it notably by adopting the many new paths that technology opens up.
In their search for the client to immerse themselves in the values of the brand, they turn to the innovation of their sales strategies, reaching results that were unthinkable until recently. They have even managed to convince people to go shopping was nothing short of an ordeal.
In all this panorama they have a lot to contribute the data. The current ability to handle and interpret large flows of information is largely responsible for substantial changes in the entire sales process. Along the following lines we will talk about some trends in the retail sector in which data analysis have a lot to say.
Faster delivery in e-commerce
Electronic commerce continues to grow at a remarkable pace. More and more people rely on this form of purchase, enjoying the convenience of not having to travel to the physical store itself to get the desired product and taking advantage of the great and varied offer.
According to the study of the National Commission of the Markets and the Competition, during the first trimester of the previous year, the e-commerce grew in Spain 32.8%, reaching the figure of 8.974 million euros of turnover.
Location Intelligence is a powerful resource for electronic commerce. Thanks to localization technologies we can collect and interpret an unthinkable amount of data.
Knowing the behavior of our potential client, both in the real world and on the web, allows us to adapt our marketing strategy to each segment of the population. For example, the fact of knowing which physical stores you usually visit and what you usually buy in them makes it easier for us to create offers tailored for those same products, so that we attract you to our online store.
Another example of the potential that Location Intelligence offers us for e-commerce and that allows us to personalize the offer is the fact of knowing which hours are the most frequent to the electronic store, in which physical location these customers are and what kind of purchases are made performed in that time interval.
In a sector like this, the prices between different stores tend to be very even, so they must differentiate into something more than the economic aspect. One of those differentiating factors is the delivery time.
The reception of real-time traffic data, including knowing where each delivery person is located, makes it possible to optimize both pick-up and delivery routes. Thanks to the treatment of enormous amounts of data, the volumes of delivery can be predicted and, therefore, the cost that the distribution will have in a fairly precise way, with its consequent benefits for the company and the satisfaction of the buyer for having his product as much as possible soon as posible.
If we set our sights on a not too distant future, we will see how driverless cars can play an important role in the transport of e-commerce products. The basis of its operation is the reception of data through its own sensors. With this information, the car is mapping its surroundings and learning more and more with each kilometer traveled.
Improvement of the store experience
New trends in the retail sector make buyers, especially those belonging to younger generations, look for an experience beyond what is offered in the traditional store model, both physical and online.
To provide these new experiences we have great allies to mobile technology, virtual reality or augmented reality.
The use of indoor positioning technologies, also known as Indoor Mapping has a lot to say in the creation of these experiences that make the visit to the store something more than going to buy a certain product.
From the data of the behavior of the public in it, we can send offers tailored to each client, optimize the queues and the flow of people or know the points where the highest sales are made, all aimed at greater satisfaction of the public.
In Geographica we are aware of the importance of indoor mapping for retail, as demonstrated by our solution developed for El Corte Inglés.
In recent years he also has gained more prominence virtual reality and augmented reality as a booster to boost sales. In fact, according to a Digital Bridge study, 74% of consumers expect an augmented reality experience throughout the purchase process.
Some of the most popular applications of virtual reality in retail consist of being able to test clothes through a mobile device or check how a certain object of decoration is from home.
How can we integrate the data in these tools? An example of an intelligent solution for this is an application that allows you to obtain all kinds of information about a product, including the opinions of other buyers, just by scanning the label.
The store experience powered by Virtual Reality is going a step further. In level of integration of Virtual Reality experiences in the big consumption is such that big brands have assimilated them as a relevant element in their marketing strategies.
Without going any further, Amazon, during the promotion of its Prime Day, opened virtual reality zones in shopping centers where you could visit the digital representation of a city where your products were located, which could be examined and even see how they were about holographic representations of people.
Some campaigns even seek multisensory experiences, such as the Merrell Company, which for the promotion of their new hiking boots created a simulation of a mountain trail. In it, while the landscape was sighted thanks to the Virtual Reality glasses, you could walk through a real wooden bridge and feel rock walls while you felt the wind generated by turbines. A 100% immersive experience
In Japan, the company Team S intends that by 2020 its customers can virtually visit their stores with live images of them. These remote visitors can walk through its corridors, receive recommendations and buy the desired items by voice commands so that, soon, they can receive them at home.
From the point of view of store managers, virtual reality can be very useful when mapping customer behavior. For example, you can visualize heat maps with VR glasses to see which shelves are more active and, depending on this, sell those spaces to the brands.
Another noteworthy function from the managerial point of view of the experiences of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is to contribute to the training of personnel. With this resource, store employees, as in the case of Walmart, learn how to act in different situations, such as the agglomerations of dates such as Christmas or Black Friday.
Use of virtual assistants
For customers, having someone to help us choose the product that best suits our needs is a factor that adds great value to the brand. With the current technologies, we can transfer these assistants to the virtual world.
The improvement in the recommendations of personalized products contributes an incalculable value to the brand. Proof of this is the solution we developed for OneBookShelf, a leading company in the sale of digital entertainment content.
The virtual assistants are in the process of expansion, in fact it is estimated an annual growth of 11.6% until the year 2021.
More and more stores offer assistants in the form of chatbots or guided by voice that provide valuable information to the person in front of the PC, smartphone or tablet. In a relationship of reciprocity, the Artificial Intelligence systems that direct these assistants are learning with the information received from the users thanks to Machine Learning, perfecting their work algorithms.
For the retail entrepreneur, virtual assistants can help you automate data-driven business management operations to achieve optimal results. These tasks can range from adapting offers to certain groups, to managing smart email marketing campaigns or suggesting rewards to the best customers, among many others.
It is key for the correct functioning of these assistants that they obtain an important quantity of data that allows to identify different patterns of behavior and that this collected information is really useful, for which we must know how to choose the source of such data, as it could be a software of point of sale.
One of the sales strategies most in vogue in the retail sector is currently to expand sales channels and contact with different leads, so that it can be captured and converted into a customer in several ways.
The Big Commerce’s 2018 Omni-Channel Retail Report shows a clear tendency to purchase through e-commerce or social networks in the younger generations, while from a certain age, direct contact with the products continues to be preferred.
For this reason, the integration of all these sales channels is very important. It is a complex process, but one that has great advantages for the seller.
As we have said, integrating data from various sources has some technical difficulty that is usually accompanied by a considerable economic investment and a phase of adaptation of the working methods by all members of the company.
Consumption of products responsible for the environment
More and more people are concerned about the care of the planet; this is demonstrated by the fact that organic and ecological products are increasingly consumed. According to a report prepared by EcoLogical in 2018 on the market for organic products in Spain, this has grown by 12.55% since 2015, contributing 1.69% to the Spanish food market.
There are studies that show a relationship between geographic and demographic variables and concern for the care of the environment, with its consequent actions. According to the work carried out in the Brazilian cities of Maringá and Sarandí and published by the Argentine Association of Ecology, people with a high level of education are 3.2 times more likely to have more environmental awareness.
Another publication made in China links other socio-demographic factors such as sex, age or work, with concern for the natural environment. This study draws the conclusion that urban and young women are the most environmentally aware.
As can be seen, the data has had a great part of the responsibility in the change suffered during the last years by the retail sector. The experience of visiting a store does not often have anything to do with what it was a decade ago. These changes have not only been applied to physical stores, but have also reached electronic commerce.
The emergence of Location Intelligence has been a point of no return for virtually all productive sectors, including retail, leading to an exciting future in which new and great advantages that lead to the overall satisfaction of merchants and consumers.