E-commerce has shaken the foundations of the retail industry

E-commerce has shaken the foundations of the retail industry

Mar 10 2016



The unsinkable foundation of the retail industry now seems to be shaken by the emergence of e-commerce and its growing popularity. Brand loyalty no longer dictates the buying habits, aggressive pricing does not guarantee sales and 360-degree marketing also cannot ensure a successful product launch. A huge amount of data is generated every minute with every transaction and click, online. It is difficult to track and understand what customers want in the retail industry without the help of data analytics, especially when it comes to offline and in-store sales. Retailers and marketers are continually trying to establish a link between these offline and online channels to enhance customer experience. To the experts, it seems that ‘data’ is the key to tying up all the modes of sales.

The retail sector is one of the fastest growing industries. High competition, emerging trends and competitive quality and price race have blown the fire. Consumers are collaborating and sharing ideas online on numerous platforms. These various means of data generation that is largely accessible to everyone (consumers, marketers and retailers), generate the opportunity to extract valuable information to compete in the market.

Research from eCommera found “only 23% of UK retailers feel they can quickly make sense of the data available to them to take the right business decisions. Meanwhile, nearly 50% of retailers believe their current business intelligence tools fall short of their needs, with only 16% confident that their data analytics tools provide the organisational visibility they require” as stated by computerweekly. This clearly states the inability of the retail industry to make the most of the available data, while it becomes easier with e-commerce.

Marketers are under extreme pressure to understand the pulse of the market and implement marketing campaigns that will fetch desired results. But with a massive amount of data that consumers generate daily, the decision makers are literally grappling in the dark. With the constantly growing and enhancing e-commerce, marketers will need to take help of a number of tools to extract and amplify data that is generated.

To briefly understand and follow the changing demands of the consumer, marketers need to analyse needs, habits and preferences and also follow the past actions and anticipate future actions. Predicting future trends and forming new opportunities for sales, based on concrete analysis and customer reports is necessary.

Constant improvement in service is the way to retain customers and be the talk of the town. With in-depth analysis, targeted marketing campaigns can be formed to ensure successful product launches.

Tom Davis, global lead for e-commerce at Puma, said not having insight into customers can hold retailers back. “If you can’t control your data, you can’t move fast enough,” he said.

Along with the consumer benefit and sales point of view, businesses also need data management to drive results, profits and achieve their goals. From daily activities like,

  • Inventory management
  • Storage and distribution of merchandise
  • Establishing a seamlessly connected data chain
  • Preventing miscalculations
  • Prevention of loss

to… complex tasks like,

  • Analyzing and predicting consumer spending patterns
  • Predicting and assuming consumer needs
  • Manufacturing new products
  • integrating all logistic solutions
  • Handling fraud detection
  • Enhancing margins
  • Increasing ROI
  • Risk management
  • Allowing mobility to stakeholders, etc.

can be achieved with a coherent strategy and data intelligence.

With the help of data-driven decisions, businesses will be able to achieve a comprehensive business model with optimal use of data. Advanced analytics can improve the pricing policies, inventory management, customer service, predict trends and ultimately the bottom line for retailers.

Retailers who are stubborn to sticking to their traditional methods depend on merchant’s opinions and do business on assumptions.

It has been predicted that sooner or later, traditional retailers will also have to move to unorthodox methods and join the data driven generation.


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