By Devin Partida, ReHack.com
As digital technologies have transformed the world, IT’s role in retail has grown. Today, even brick-and-mortar stores must pay attention to technologies’ potential if they hope to remain competitive.
Making the most of retail marketing often means capitalizing on digital data. To do that, retailers need to take full advantage of the available IT resources. Here’s a closer look at how these systems can help businesses make the most of their marketing strategies.
Gathering Customer Data
The most straightforward application of IT systems in retail marketing is gathering shopper data. Facebook activity alone creates 4 petabytes of data a day, giving retailers a wealth of information they can use to craft buyer personas and target advertising campaigns. Businesses should use IT solutions to gather and organize this data to capitalize on it.
Retailers can gather social media statistics about who views their ads and interacts with their posts. Cross-referencing this data with information from online sales can help identify potential repeat customers and which demographics may be the most profitable to target.
Businesses also can collect customer data in physical locations. Bluetooth beacons and similar devices can monitor shopper foot traffic to reveal where they’re spending time in-store. This data can help craft targeted ads or highlight which items need more promotion.
Optimizing The Supply Chain
Another crucial but easily overlooked part of using IT to support retail marketing is supply chain visibility. Digital technologies like IoT and RFID trackers, which communicate with readers through radio waves, can provide wireless, real-time product data in stores and warehouses. This creates an accessible, timely view of stock levels, informing more accurate order and production schedules.
As this visibility improves supply chain efficiency, it will help appeal to customers. Almost 70% of people shop online and nearly all will choose free shipping options, even if it takes longer. IT can help meet the online-shopping demand with an efficient, transparent supply chain.
Solutions like warehouse management systems (WMS) give retailers a better understanding of their shipping and production volumes. They can then set up alerts and automatic orders to prevent shortages or errors like selling out-of-stock products. This customer service can then become a critical marketing point.
Managing Customer Relationships
IT also can help manage ongoing relationships with customers. Effective marketing adapts to shoppers’ changing needs and its place in the customer journey. IT solutions can enable that by keeping up-to-date records for potential buyers and automating lead nurturing.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can keep consumer records in one place to enable more straightforward automation and ongoing conversations. Consequently, finding the right CRM solution and effectively implementing it can be crucial to a retailer’s marketing success.
As helpful as these solutions can be, as much as 69% of CRM projects fail. Retailers need a more robust IT culture to capitalize on these tools. Businesses should use them to adjust their marketing strategy with them, not just for research.
IT Takes Retail Marketing To New Heights
In the current digital world, retail marketing must embrace IT. Tech experts and marketing teams must work together closely to meet customers’ needs and craft more effective advertising campaigns. If retailers can do that, they can stay ahead of the competition in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
About The Author
Devin Partida is a writer and blogger interested in retail technologies and business solutions. To read more from Devin, visit ReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.