3 Data-Driven Insights That Can Strengthen Your Holiday Retail Success

Navigating online and offline retail has never been black and white for merchants. After all, the reality is that no two customers are the same… or are no two merchants – even if they’re a multi-chain store – simply because their immediate community, weather and customers will undoubtedly vary.  Fortunately, these fine print details do not have to create obstacles for retailers like they have in the past. IBM works with retailers to clarify customer behavior data and the forces that influence it – including weather, consumer foot traffic, personalization for customers and more.

To help your own one-of-a-kind store better understand how data-driven insight can strengthen your retail success this holiday season, consider the following.

Holiday Influence #1: Location, Location, Location 

Where your store is and where your customers are matter. In fact, with a reported 89% of consumers using the internet via their Smartphones, it’s more important than ever to connect with your local consumer marketplace in real-time – particularly if you consider how location mapping via Smartphones can influence this key audience of potential buyers. Keeping this in mind, having a firm understanding of what’s happening in your local community – such as school closures, community events and more – can help your business connect to nearby customers with more real-time engagement while also helping your business make stronger staffing, inventory, marketing and overall management decisions. The question remains, however, how can you do this? To learn more, explore more here.

Holiday Influence #2: Connecting Customers Online & Offline 

The path to purchase is no longer linear. It can twist, turn and change unexpectedly… which is why retailers need to embrace the realities of how today’s modern customers shop. This means intertwining your online and offline strategies, ultimately connecting data and allowing data to lead merchants in smarter, more strategic decision-making. As IBM explains best, bridging the gap between online and offline can “combine in-store and online data to simplify your customers’ journeys and convert browsers into buyers.”

If buyers are what you’re looking for this holiday season – and beyond – consider how data-driven insight can help. More specifically, data can offer communication opportunities between merchants and consumers when inventory they have a history of purchasing or may have browsed online becomes limited in stock, on sale or is influenced in other ways that may push a retailer to connect with a customer. Store hours being impacted by community events, weather, holidays and more are also important factors to share with customers – and using both online and offline strategies that may include email marketing, social media, in-store communication and more this opens up an avenue for retailers to connect with their buyers. The key variable in this all, however, is data. Without both collecting data and reacting to data at the various touch-points your customers make throughout their consumer journeys you miss out on opportunities to enhance your store sales.

Holiday Influence #3: Weather… & It’s Guaranteed Uncertainty 

From warehouse management to the shipment of packages being sent to your customers to the amount of foot traffic – or lack of it – to expect in your physical storefront as a direct result to weather, there is no shortage of ways that weather impacts merchants.

Rain or shine, the guarantee of weather influencing your retail business is certain – however the uncertainty of weather is something you can expect, as well.

Due to this unpredictable force that drives a tremendous amount of influence on consumer behavior, it’s important to incorporate weather data into your store strategies. From back end details including warehouse management and inventory shipments to front line details that influence employee scheduling, marketing and more, weather has a direct influence on a variety of variables that help bring a store to life. Due to this, it’s critical for merchants to use weather data on a daily basis as they make important store decisions. During the holidays, weather takes an even stronger role in retail since consumers expect shipments to arrive precisely – or sooner – when they want them… despite potential weather delays. Using advanced retail predictive analytics solutions from IBM, retailers can make real-time decisions based on weather data influencing their customers, their stores and their inventory warehouses and shipments. This key data is something you will not want to overlook during this important time of year. Discover more on how weather can be tracked, understood and applied to your business here. 

Finally, as you aim to strengthen your store success this holiday season be sure to let the details you can control – such as how you manage your business – help to boost your sales despite other variables you can’t control – such as weather – potentially getting in the way. Taking strides to strengthen your holiday sales this season is a gift you can give yourself.

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