Callcredit Blog

Building a showroom without walls

Digital Services

I recently had to buy some blinds in a hurry from a department store over hour’s drive away and did not fancy the trip. Nor did I want to wait a few days for a delivery. Enter ‘Click and collect’:  order by 7pm and the goods turn up in my local supermarket the next day.  The rapid rise of Click and collect led by retailers such as John Lewis and Next is resulting in a boost to online sales for some.  Even ‘online only’ retailers are getting in on the act.  To quote the Telegraph article ‘It seems that a full decade after broadband arrived in Britain, internet shoppers are finally getting the sort of service and convenience they were always promised’.

But what about the rise of showrooming – customers using physical stores to try out goods then turning to the internet for the best prices?  Was this a factor in the destiny of Comet, Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster?  According to ComScore, over 27m UK users browse on-network from mobiles.  So a  majority of UK shoppers therefore have the means to commit this ‘crime’.

So how do retailers claw back competitive advantage?  Ideally, they should avoid direct price comparisons according to MIT.  Rather, they should consider distinctive features which customers value, introduce exclusivity, create bundles (historical data can be mined to find meaningful relationships between products from past sales), raise switching costs and enhance experiences.

But getting a grip on transactional (not ‘big’) data will pay a massive part in helping retailers to survive this tough economic climate.  Many of these sunken retailers had a wealth of customer information their fingertips but the degree to which it was linked to known customers was mixed.

In my previous post, I talked about the importance of having a data model that allows the power of a full range of customer generated data such as website searches, express or implied checkins (social, wifi and 3G) and store visits (card swipes, RFID and voucher redemption) to be harnessed.  Capturing and storing that data in the best way is only the first step.  Competitive advantage will only be built if retailers have the ability to combine it with other customer data and use analytics to make offers to customers which are, for example location and time specific.

Author: Paul Kennedy

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