Oracle Retail Blog helps retailers stay current on customer successes, hot retail trends and industry best practices.

Going from a Micro to Macro View of Your Customer Can Drive Sales Today

Mark Lawrence
Solutions Director, Analytics and Enterprise

While the future before us remains uncertain, no one doubts that the retail consumer will remain in control as we move forward. So how do you prepare for the unexpected? What have you learned from the recent shutdowns that can help on the path forward? 

The recovery in retail will be fiercely competitive across the value chain – and every retail decision will be directly tied to how it impacts end customers. Whether that be upfront interactions through marketing or post-transaction fulfillment, the New Next is coming. So, how do you create the operational agility to cope with the changing environment? 

New technologies are on the horizon that will change every aspect of how consumers interact with brands. Regardless of the vertical, every great experience will influence the expectation for the next experience. Smarter analytics solutions will bring new dimensions to how retailers acquire, target, and serve retail customers. In just a few years, marketing, sales, and service will look nothing like they do today. Let’s take a look at the shifts we expect the not-so-distant future to hold for retail marketing.

The Big Picture

Personas, personalization, the segment of one - however you want to characterize it - there has been a lot of focus and attention into shifting segmentation strategies to individualization initiatives. Understanding your customer is a best practice and essential. 

Almost half of shoppers say it’s critical to get offers or discounts which are better than what anyone else can get based on their loyalty, and that’s on top of being tailored to their preferred styles, communication channel, and frequency. But as retailers focus on tailoring the smallest details, they must also take a holistic view and consider all the data that surrounds a consumer. 

Envision a mosaic of small parts that together create a work of art greater than the sum of its parts, or Seurat’s pointillism classic of the lakeside – every dot, every color makes the whole, and not one retailer has every possible dot. The connection of the dots—or data points—and the interplay of the colors make the scene seamless. This ‘macro’ view of each data point in the context of others epitomizes the next practice that will shape marketing in the years ahead.

Knowing to Learning

While a shift from micro to macro may make sense on paper, visualizing how it might play out in the real world is another. 

You know your customer always shops through your iOS app; she’s made a dozen purchases through it in the past year. And while she’s browsed your website, she never hits ‘add to cart.’ However, at a certain point, your in-app offers start going unused, and despite some opened emails, and browsed pages, you’re hardly on her radar. With what you know, she seems to have stopped shopping. Soon enough, it won’t be a matter of what you know, but what you can learn. 

With continually improving insights informed with supervised machine learning, you can uncover clues behind your customer’s sudden change. Maybe she’s started spending more time browsing clothes on Pinterest on a new device, or perhaps she’s been making fewer purchases through Apple Pay, or, maybe, she has a new Android phone and can no longer access your app. With that insight in hand, a targeted promotion highlighting your latest Android app update might just push her to finally head to the Google Play store and add your brand back to her app roster. 

The right platform for modern retail will not only bring customer insights together but will layer in contextual intelligence to help you connect the dots, which right now, you desperately need, but may not be able to see.

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