In the new COVID-19 era, retailers are experiencing tough times – companies are losing revenue, consumers are shifting to online shopping, and those left have become extremely disloyal to brands. In other words, the stakes have become higher than ever for retailers around the world.
This made the role of marketing extremely important, almost crucial, as from marketing tactics and instruments now depend how much companies can recover revenues. This article argues why companies should have business intelligence (BI) in their portfolio of tools to successfully thrive in the future.
Retailers are in trouble
A McKinsey Digital report said there was almost a 17% decline in US retail sales during April. That was the largest ever recorded drop in a single month. Meanwhile, the shares of online shopping have increased across all categories. Amazon, for example, reported a 26% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period last year.
In addition, in the new reality consumers are being very disloyal to brands. Instead of sticking to familiar shopping patterns and brands, consumers have changed their behaviors during uncertainty. Having surveyed the shopping habits of customers across four countries, McKinsey said that on average 40% of consumers tried new brands or retailers. US consumers were particularly disloyal, as 46% of them switched brands.
Like it or not, this is the next normal in customer experience. This also means that the special responsibility falls onto the shoulders of marketing departments. Old tactics are no longer effective. There are ways, however, and marketers need to start implementing them as soon as possible for businesses to stay afloat.
Business intelligence comes as a solution
In its Reimagining Marketing in the Next Normal report series, McKinsey came up with four key enablers to help marketers:
- Organizational design and culture
- Agile ways of working
- Better talent management
- Data and technology
In our case, we’re particularly interested in the role of data and technology in improving marketing operations. Essentially, the key idea is that companies need to get a 360-degree customer data to enable seamless customer journey.
The truth is that we’re only at the beginning of great shifts – consumer beliefs, habits and needs will continue to evolve quickly over the next few years. This means retailers can no longer depend on monitoring past sales. By the time you finish gathering weekly Excel files into a monthly sales report, it’s already obsolete and too late to monitor emerging trends.
Modern BI tools may come as a solution. Near real-time reporting and AI capabilities are ideal to capture the ongoing consumer insights and focus on identifying changing behaviors to get a full picture of the shifting consumer decision journey.
BI can provide real-time numbers, decode consumer attitudes on social media channels using AI capabilities, and even attempt to show future via predictive analytics. In addition, BI can provide a more granular analyses of data, especially big data. When organized and structured well, this data can turn into insights and subsequently lead to new ideas how to refine marketing messages, product offerings, and conduct better sales.
The old days when companies could use past months (sometimes even last year) reporting, conduct high-level consumer attitude surveys once or twice a year are gone. To thrive in the new era of rapidly shifting consumer behaviors, companies must keep a close eye on the daily evolution of trends in the consumer behaviors.