Retail trends to watch in 2016; Data Analytics and The Internet of Things

The second part of our 2016 Retail trends explores two more facets of Retail advancement set to infiltrate the industry over the next 12 months; Analytics and data driven decisions are sweeping in, and we are all aware of the continuing storm that is the Internet of Things.

ANALYTICS AND DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS

2015 witnessed a dramatic surge in the use of analytics and data to guide decisions. Not only did the number of employees able to access an assortment of data types increase, but tools and resources to help them also rose convincingly. In 2016, analytical capabilities will be a focus for retailers looking to invest and grow in a respected field, whether it be through a marketing department or an IT department.

Analytical capabilities are included in most leading CRM packages today, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These capabilities lead to smart knowledge and informed business decisions as companies are able to extract and segment lists, tailor communications, interpret purchasing behaviours and decide on promotional activity before effortlessly personalising their messaging.

The timing of this analytical explosion couldn’t come at a more perfect time. New, diverse data types are becoming available with access that is fast, technology storage that is falling, and secure cloud resources that are increasingly in reach. Data-driven behaviour is evolving to deliver the insights that lead today’s marketing. It is clear that we are now in a year where retailers can use data to great advantage.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) 

Fundamentally, the Internet of Things is the connection of devices that power that energise technological habits.

Standalone devices are able to communicate within interconnected networks, allowing them to respond and act off of each other.

Today, there are twice as many connected devices than people, and the number of linked ‘things’ is only set to rise.

In retail, connected devices is providing more data intelligence than ever before, providing greater strategic insight and control. 

Unified data will transform how retail industry participants are able to plan, market and engage with their customers. There are three distinctive patterns that have emerged as part of the IoT evolution that closely link to retail:

·         Mobile integration – referring to the interlinking of devices, smartphones, tablets and more conventional tech such as laptops and desktops.

·         Cloud advancement - relating to enhancements in storage capabilities and the increased accessibility of external connections.

·         Hardware and software innovation – linking to continuous improvements in memory, processes, inter-device communication, and data transfer.

From now on, marketing will be less impeded by device and platform, it’s the content and UX that will be under the spotlight. Power is in the hands of the retailer, and those equipped to take advantage will be able to use connected insight to delight their customers.

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