The race to keep a company’s brand intact and consistently relevant is no small feat – particularly in today’s retail environment of rapid and tectonic changes. Long-cherished assumptions in retail are under unrelenting attack. Retailers must face daunting challenges head-on, or risk becoming irrelevant.

Today’s shoppers carry the store with them wherever they go Today’s shoppers carry the store with them wherever they go. They browse, compare, buy and share their likes and dislikes on the go, 24/7. Retailers are in a race for relevance to deliver a powerful value proposition, competitive price image, and compelling offers that matter. And they must reach the consumer with surgical precision amid the cacophony of noise from traditional competitors as well as e-commerce disruptors such as Amazon and Jet.com.

How can retail marketers make their brand stand out? Those who embrace analytics-driven strategies and innovative technologies, which transform information into actionable data and insights, gain the competitive advantage and a brand that stands above the rest.

Here are three key strategies that will position retailers for success and brand dominance:

1.  There Are NO Excuses: Know Your Customer

Today retailers have unprecedented sources and quantities of data about their customers, from historic behaviors to today’s real-time actions. And for the first time, affordable cloud-based hardware and software solutions exist to deliver analytics that yield rapid, meaningful customer insights from that data.

Leveraging data-driven solutions for actionable recommendations based on customer demand signals gives retailers a competitive boost, including:

  • The ability to better align price and promotion with the overall brand image and strategy
  • Implementing profitable and impactful promotional planning with collaboration between merchants and other departments for consistent, accurate promotions that reinforce brand messaging
  • Highly targeted promotions that drive optimal loyalty, customer satisfaction, and ROI
  • The ability to progress from descriptive analytics, that describe the past; to predictive analytics, that help you anticipate the impact of promotional offers on sales, margin, and profit; to prescriptive analytics that proactively suggest actions to help you stay a step ahead of fast-evolving consumer and competitive market shifts

2.  Plan With The End In Mind

Achieving measurable results and ROI is critical to every retail marketing leader. It’s important that retailers align promotional strategies to the company’s key metrics and financial targets, all while enforcing the bedrock brand value proposition and price image.

To successfully tap the power of a data-driven promotion suite, marketers first must assess their organization’s current capabilities, processes, technology and cultural capacity for change. They should do the groundwork in advance to ensure they have top executive support and sponsorship, which in turn drives successful implementation and adoption.

It’s critical to commit the up-front effort to define measurable goals, milestones, and checkpoints to enable the team to gauge promotion effectiveness and results against financial targets. This can also help to fine-tune campaigns in-flight for better outcomes and to ensure that elements of successful campaigns are leveraged in future offerings.

3.  Team Up For Success

It’s the team! Strategic teamwork is key to better support customers’ needs and improve the overall customer experience (online and in-store), as well as create a powerful value proposition.

Retail marketers should partner closely with their Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) to gain a truly holistic view of their customers, competitors, and market landscape. The combined data, both historical and real-time, give a 360-degree view that enables granular segmentation and well-crafted offers that truly resonate with customers.

In addition, communication is critical to success. Marketers need to connect regularly and proactively with the stakeholders to ensure approval, adoption and implementation of new technologies and strategies that give the organization a competitive edge. Proactive communications help to ensure the teams are working together to drive promotions effectively and profitably across key channels that yield the highest ROI.

BONUS TIP – The New Generation Data-Driven Technologies

The intersection of affordable big data platforms, machine-learning technology, and SaaS delivery models gives retailers access to powerful capabilities that until recently were out of reach:

  • The ability to collect all of a retailer’s data and put it into an affordable repository, in near real-time
  • Data science-based self-learning algorithms that crunch all the data – at the scale and speed necessary to drive actionable business and customer insights to boost revenues, margins and profits
  • Collaborative multi-role workflows that encompass the marketing plan and the merchant view, allowing retailers to see where they attain real lift in marketing vehicles and how much lift
  • What-if scenario planning to anticipate the impact of specific offers and adjust promotion campaigns in-flight