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Why Amazon Isn’t Taking Over the World: Retailers Can Survive by Using Data to Focus Resources

Many headlines indicate retail is dead. Stores are closing. Amazon is taking over the world. But it’s simply not the case. As National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay recently shared, retail is alive and well, and sales are actually experiencing modest growth.

That’s not to deny that stores are closing. To survive in this evolving retail landscape, we must face the facts that how we shop certainly has changed. In a busy world where we’re starved for time, Amazon is a convenient place to order groceries. And, with the purchase of Whole Foods, they’ve reinforced the idea that there’s still room for stores. At different points in our lives, we’ll have needs for transactional shopping experiences… and for experiential in-store opportunities.

At a recent retail conference, we partnered with Barneys New York and Talbots to deliver a session on “moving to a full 360-degree view of your customers.” During this presentation, Paul Lazorisak, Vice President of Customer Marketing & Analytics at Talbots, made this key point: “Customers like the tactile experience of the store, interacting with associates, getting advice. In-store is still a significant part of our business, retail not only drives the majority of our sales, but also the largest percentage of new customers.”

Meanwhile, Barneys New York’s Senior Director of CRM Marketing Amisha Sanghvi said, “Younger customers don’t see online and offline as two separate channels—they see them as the same.”

The bottom line? Retailers can’t be everything to everyone in every channel.

If you want to win in this ever-changing industry, rely on data, the voice of the customer, and predictive analytics to understand where and when your customers need you most. The answer sits at the intersection of what your customers are saying and doing.

Data is changing retail marketing strategy, planning, and budgets by allowing marketers to see where their customers (new, loyal, and lapsed) are spending within and outside of their brand. Advanced computing allows marketers to leverage insights faster than ever and understand purchase patterns and behaviors that will drive everything from marketing and brand message, to rewards and strategic partnerships, to in-store experience.

Relying on data can inform where you invest your money and resources. Do you really need to invest in an all-new app? Or are you better off building experiences to bring your customers into your stores? Does your loyalty program need an overhaul? Or maybe customer service training for your sales associates?

Knowing where to focus your dollars will help you position your business during this time of transition. Barneys New York is a great example of a brand using data analytics to their benefit.

“Barneys is a data-driven company; our marketing strategies start and end with numbers. With improved customer data, we are more strategic and smarter than ever with the decisions that we make,” Sanghvi shared.

You can, too. Now is the time to stop engaging in random acts of marketing and use data to make strategic, profitable decisions.

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