What Retailers in The UK can Learn from the Asian Retail Market
The retail industry is increasingly colliding with adjacent consumer-focused sectors, as a result, the industry continues to undergo constant disruption. Amidst all the retail industry trends and changes, one thing that remains consistent is the fact that consumers are becoming more powerful and retailers are trying to do all it takes to meet the changing customer demands. Last year left the retail industry with a lot to digest including a strong U.S. economy, the holiday season that delivered record-breaking sales, some high-profile bankruptcies, and other global trade and economic challenges. Our retail industry analysis reveals that although in 2018 the retail industry was bolstered with a strong labor market and elevated disposable personal income; the economy may face some headwinds this year. This means that 2019 will be a year of transformation for retailers and they will require to make some bold moves to make distinct space for themselves in the market.
Retail industry analysis 2019
Supply chain as a differentiator
Our retail industry analysis reveals that retailers are increasingly leveraging supply chain to differentiate their services. However, a major challenge here is to make the supply chain more predictable, less costly, and faster. Top companies in the retail industry believe that supply chain improvements can be a significant growth driver for the future. Rather than investing in retail industry trends like automation and smart packaging, it is important for retail companies to now think about using wider supply chain strategies for accumulating long-term competitive advantage.
The changing retail value chain
The value chain across the retail industry is becoming increasingly compressed. Our retail analysis experts have identified that several retailers are accelerating their merchandise cycles and moving their supply chains closer to their target customers. Retail companies are also making efforts to deploy advanced technologies that improve the process of connecting with their customers.
Moving away from transactional thinking
Earlier retail businesses revolved around isolated transactions where customers were bombarded with discounts and offer messages, the primary intent being to increasing sales. Today, retail brands are highly focused on delivering exceptional customer experience and are also using it as a tactic to compete better in the market. A retail industry analysis by experts at Infiniti Research revealed that a good majority of brands are using customer experience as a strategy to boost both their online as well as in-store sales. This is one of the primary reasons why retail giants like Walmart is thriving despite several others shutting shop. The company has rolled out several initiatives to streamline in-store customer experience by using advanced technologies like touch screen, search kiosks, and allowing customers to use mobile phones to scan products. Several other top retailers are undertaking similar measures to redefine the shopping experience for customers.
Pop-up luxury retail stores
Several luxury retail labels are trying to lure millennials and Gen-Z customers due to their shifting priorities and heightened spending trends. Earlier, a pop-up was merely seen as an interesting concept that allowed brands to ‘test’ a retail presence or launch a new product. It also helps generate social media buzz, although short-lived. However, the recent evolution of pop-up fashion stores holds greater intrigue by offering fresh concepts on constant rotation. They are now used as a means to grab customer curiosity and engage with them. In an age where social capital goes hand-in-hand with monetary profits, such initiatives become highly useful for brands.
Nurturing post purchase
In a move towards achieving customer centricity, retailers are giving increased importance to last mile customer experiences. Companies are even going to the extent of acquiring delivery platforms to fulfill their delivery obligations on the same day and promote customer delight. Post purchase nurturing is a long-term growth strategy aimed at giving a better success rate in the future.
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Modern businesses possess a humongous amount of data – both structured and unstructured. As far as a business is concerned, data plays an instrumental role in driving growth, development, and innovation within the company. But the data that enterprises possess comes handy only if they are structured and the company can derive value from it. This is where web scraping comes into the picture. Web scraping helps in extracting unorganized data and converting them into organized and manageable formats. This is especially useful if your brand is being talked about on multiple platforms or ways (social media, expert forums, comments, etc.), in which case you can set the scraping tool algorithm to fetch only data that contains reference about the brand. As a result, marketers and business owners can gauge brand sentiment and tweak their marketing campaign to enhance visibility.
How can retailers use web scraping in their business?
Web scraping has been revolutionizing the use of big data in business. The retail industry is one of the most benefited sectors with this tool. Here are some of the applications of web scraping that retailers can use for brand monitoring :
Determine pricing strategy
The growth in the number of players in the market is resulting in retailers competing hard with one another to stay ahead of the growth curve. Using web scraping techniques, companies can crawl price comparison sites’ pricing data, product descriptions, and images to receive data for comparison, affiliation, or analytics. This gives retailers the opportunity to trade their products at competitive prices and increase profits.
Track online presence
In this digital era, prospective customers research online about a company’s brand value and the products before making a purchase. Hence, it is essential for modern businesses to establish an online presence. Web scraping helps firms to achieve online brand intelligence and monitoring by providing a crystal clear picture of product performance, customer behavior, and interactions.
Detect fraudulent reviews
Product reviews have become a testimony which most customers consider before making a purchase. However, not all the reviews written about a particular product might be authentic. Web scraping helps companies to identify opinion-spamming, thus figuring out fake reviews. It further helps in reviewing, streamlining, or blocking reviews, according to the business needs.
Online reputation management
With social media going mainstream, the online reputation can either make or break a brand. So, it is vital for businesses to continuously undertake brand monitoring on digital platforms. In web scraping, a web crawler identifies demographic opinions such as age group, gender, sentiments, and geo-location, helping retailers learn about both the impactful as well as vulnerable areas for online reputation management.
Advantages of web scraping for the retail sector
Web scraping provides some significant benefits to companies in the retail industry :
- Provides improved customer insights
- Helps to monitor competition
- Allows companies to stay informed about latest comments about the business on social media
- Mends the communication gap between customers and the brand, thereby improving the consumer satisfaction
What is cross selling? Think of the last time you ordered a piece of cake at a restaurant, and the server asked you “Would like to add-on a scoop of ice-cream?” , or the last time you bought a shirt at a retail store and the consultant at the store asked you “Shall I show you matching ties to go with that shirt?”, Well, that is what cross selling is all about. To get to the bottom of it, cross selling basically refers to the art of suggesting additional items to your customers, which is complementary to the items that they have already decided to purchase – prompting them to spend a little extra at your store. Believe us when we say that if done in the right manner, cross selling not only increases your sales but also acts as a great tool to gain customer loyalty and trust in the long run. So how do you get that spot in the customer’s books? Here are some quick sales tips to help you get there:
Get Your Pairing Right
You cannot pair every single item available at your store with each other. So, before a customer walks into your store, it is essential that you know what products available at your store best complement one another and can be paired together. This will make things much simpler for you to make appropriate suggestions to the customers, and most importantly make the customers feel that the suggestion you are making is valuable and appeals to them.
Customers are mostly rational and make purchases only when they feel that a product provides them some value. When cross selling to a customer, what you need to be is “smart” and what you need to have is “a good presence of mind.” Just because your motive is to increase sales, bear in mind that you are making a sensible suggestion and at the same time you don’t sound pushy. What you have to do is to build a good rapport with your customer and understand their taste and preferences. Selling ice to an Eskimo depends on your marketing skills.
Keep Similar Goods Close, but Complimentary Goods Closer
From a customer’s perspective, cross selling is all about unplanned purchases. Therefore, by showcasing items that go best with one another, the customers are more likely to get attracted to combinations and make impulsive purchases. This also makes it easier for the employees at a retail store to remember the aptest combinations and make suggestions to the customers accordingly.
In the last couple of years, the relentless growth of technology and surplus information have changed the landscape for the businesses in the retail services space. Now, meeting the audience’s requirements seems much simpler than ever before and many businesses in the retail space are facing the need for a business strategy to create more personalized offerings for the customers. In the retail services space, creating a business strategy is all about prioritizing objectives, benchmarking services, and optimizing financial performance to target the relevant business prospects. Moreover, with the help of an effective business strategy, leading retail services providers can introduce new products or refine their existing product offerings to keep pace with the competitors. With the help of a product differentiation strategy, companies in the retail space can build brand loyalty and quickly recover their production and marketing costs.
To effectively deal with competition and improve their brand positioning strategy, leading retail services providers are approaching renowned solution providers such as Infiniti. Infiniti’s business strategy helps renowned retail services providers evaluate market expansion techniques and develop robust business development strategies to set their target objectives. Moreover, businesses can determine their set of target goals and streamline their knowledge and expertise to meet their target segment’s requirements.
The Business Challenge
A leading retail services provider with a considerable number of service offerings was facing certain predicaments connecting with their customers and delivering personalized service offerings. The client wanted to spread brand awareness, attract new customers, and retain the most profitable customers. By implementing an effective business strategy, the client wanted to design their own “marketing blend” to promote their services and enhance their offerings across niche market segments. Furthermore, the primary concern for the client was to re-evaluate their target audience and prioritize their resource allocation and investment.
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To improve productivity while cutting down on costs associated with products, Infiniti’s experts carried out extensive qualitative and quantitative research and conducted interviews with the leading stakeholders in the retail services space. While the retail space is witnessing steady growth, Infiniti’s strategy experts wanted to devise a robust strategy by compiling information across a wide array of secondary sources such as paid industry databases, company presentations, and industry forums.
Benefits of the Solution Offered
The renowned retail services provider was able to leverage Infiniti’s solution to stay up-to-date in the marketplace, enhance their product offerings and improve their business strategy. The engagement also helped the client assess the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities and adequately allocating the resources to meet the business requirements. Moreover, the client was able to further improve the quality of the services offered. In this competitive environment, it becomes vital for any organization to effectively compare their product portfolios with that of the competitors. The business strategy engagement solely focused on identifying the competitors and offering more consumer-focused products to spur sales.
Additional Benefits Offered by Infiniti Include:
- Prioritized objectives, competed successfully, and optimized financial performance
- Aligned brands with opportunities to go on par with altering consumer preferences
- Enhanced the sales of products using variety of marketing methods
- Improved customer confidence and stock prices of the products
A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the retail services space