This is the first of a series of 4-blogs (Read Blog 2, Blog 3, Blog 4) from SkillNet on how Modern Commerce Leaders have used technology to digitally transform their retail businesses to adapt to the New Normal. This ability to adapt, gives these brands a competitive advantage. While the blogs are connected each of them can be read independently.
Up through the Fall of 2020, the economy looked like it was approaching a “New Normal” of economic activity. However, pessimism based on poor holiday sales and political unrest has countered the optimism coming from new stimulus spending and vaccines. Uncertainty continues to be the defining term for 2021. In this blog, we will discuss where we are on the path to the New Normal, and how retailers can support customers changes in behavior.
First question we all have is “Has the bleeding stopped?” According to TrackRecovery.org, consumer spending in week ending January 17, 2021, was up 6.5% over same time period in 2020. Driven by $600 stimulus checks, retail spending was up 25%. Consumers have dramatically shifted spending from Entertainment, Travel, and Restaurants to Essential Retail and eCommerce.
Consumer Spending up 6%; retail spending up 24.5%
Given this situation, if your business is not seeing a rebound in Sales, you may have a problem, in that your customer may have made a long-term behavioral change. These changes can be as simple as your customer still buying your product but just not coming into the store (reducing add-on sales), to your customer finding more convenient options from your competitors. Kroger reported in their 2020 Q2 earnings call that they estimate 50% of their new digital customers are coming from their competitors.
With this consumer behavioral change, not only does a business have to worry about competitors, but also whether they have lost the traditional add-on opportunities in the urgency of making the shopping experience safer. When adding functionality online, retailers may have neglected to identify opportunities to replace the incremental sales normally associated with in store traffic. Traditional merchandising and pricing techniques, which offers add-on sales opportunities, just may not work if the customer is not walking your aisles, end caps, shelves, tables, four ways, or seeing your accompanying promotional signage.
I was recently on a call with a Midwest Essentials Retail client, and one of the initiatives they have undertaken to address this uncertainty, is to partner with SkillNet to improve customers mobile shopping experience and to offer additional customer engagement functionality that not only mimics in-store experience, but in many circumstances enhances on it. This functionality includes additional fulfillment options, appointment scheduling, loyalty program, inventory availability, personalized marketing and an enhanced consumer shopping experience.
What will help retailers regain lost sales is identify what has changed in their customer’s journey. One of the ways to identify this is through financial modeling by analyzing traffic and average order values, by channel, pre-2020 and post-2021. Using technology to bridge the gap and to enhance customer experience will go a long way in deepening customer engagements and help getting the dollars back while enabling growth.
Watch the Webinar on customer engagement – Real Engagement is the new normal
Europe’s largest health and well-being retailer accelerates the pace of retail business decision making by implementing a data lake to enable stores to respond in real-time to customer needs.
About the client
The client is Europe’s largest health and well-being retailer of branded and own-label products across a wide range of vitamins, supplements, specialist food, sports nutrition, and ethical beauty. Founded in 1870, they focus on making people healthier and happier, operating more than 1300 stores worldwide as well as an expanding e-commerce business.
Challenge | Continuous product innovation requires real-time data
The client constantly innovates to meet customers’ needs, whether it is ethical sourcing or digital transformation to provide a world-class shopping experience. Continuous product innovation requires the client to better harness their data in real-time to make decisions such as refilling store inventory to avoid stock-outs, product manufacturing batch-sizes, offering new discounts, promotions, and customer rewards.
The business decision making was based on spreadsheets using data collected in silos from diverse systems and sources such as stores, audited sales, online sales, and SKU/stock data. This meant the process was slow (up to 48 hours to collect data), prone to mistakes (no single version of the truth), and not able to support business information requirements. This lack of real-time visibility was impeding the pace of innovation and customer responsiveness.
Solution | Improving business efficiency and customer experience through a data lake
After identifying the key business areas and decision insights required by client’s business finance teams, SkillNet created a data lake as the single source of truth by integrating data from multiple source technologies such as stores, audited sales, online sales and inventory. Using Oracle’s Business Intelligence platform, SkillNet automated data collation and report generation.
Hundreds of manual spreadsheets were replaced by automated reports that were run hourly, daily and weekly. Business users now have the ability to create near real-time visually impactful reports with self-service tools.
The solution enabled retailer’s team to gain visibility and proactive actionable insights across store systems and various lines of business.
Benefits | Making Better Decisions with real-time data
- Availability of near-real-time (as compared to 2 or more days earlier) integrated data with automated reports
- This has considerably reduced business decision cycles
- Proactive decision making due to the business teams’ ability to generate user-friendly reports with near real-time data
- Near real-time hierarchical store dashboards (Region, area, Store) and KPI reports on sales, ACT, conversion, engagement and loyalty participation
- Dashboards with deeper data insights have helped the client’s business & store teams uncover newer insights
- More informed decisions regarding inventory, discounts, shrinkage, product scan data and channel resulting in better responses to customer requirements.
- Teams are being able to view sales data in near real-time and be more effective in their stock allocation and replenishment
- Reduction in thefts and shrinkage
- Regional Managers were spending ~15hrs per week on analysing and customizing reports. They now spend time with Area Managers and Store Managers to drive store performance
SkillNet Solutions, Makers of Modern Commerce provide consulting and technology services to companies that are digitally transforming their retail business to modern commerce. Our services enable clients to rapidly anticipate and respond to changing consumer behaviour. Through engineering and enterprise-grade implementation of cloud and SaaS applications, SkillNet creates rich customer journeys for local and global brands to stay ahead of the curve. Our solution accelerators enable clients to quickly become more agile and efficient in harnessing technology.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, SkillNet partners with industry leaders like Oracle, SAP Commerce Cloud (Hybris), Salesforce, Magento and AWS to enhance online and in-store experiences. Since 1996, we have worked with retailers across 53 countries to deliver exceptional customer experience and growth. Our award-winning solutions have enabled global retail brands in Apparel, Automotive, F&B, CPG, Grocery, Health & Beauty, Liquor, Pharmacies, Restaurants and Telecom to deliver the promise of modern commerce.
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NRF (National Retail Federation) is the biggest global industry event for retail with 40k+ attendees and 800+ exhibitors. As always, NRF2020 will be held at Jacob Jarvits NYC location from Jan 12-14, 2020. According to NRF, it is the must-attend week where retail movers and shakers from around the world come to learn, share, collaborate, network and inspire. SkillNet will be in presence again this year. Come join us, at NRF booth #1334 and learn how we are transforming retail.
We will also host our annual customer appreciation event “Spark” on Jan 13th. Spark is an invitation only event where SkillNet’s past, current and future customers come together to network and exchange experiences in a fun, informal setting.
For invitation reach out to us at http://www.skillnetinc.com/contact/
Every year as a token of gratitude to our treasured clients and partners–past, present, and future, we look forward to hosting our annual customer appreciation event surrounding Retail’s Big Show.
We invite you to spark a connection with your fellow peers in the retail industry over complimentary cocktails and bites at the Monarch Rooftop Bar. Let’s enjoy some sparkling conversation complemented by a spectacular view of the Empire State Building. This evening is a celebration of you and sharing in our ongoing relationship and achievements together. Come celebrate with us!
JANUARY 14, 2019
MONARCH ROOFTOP BAR
71 W 35th St. 18th Floor
This event is by invitation only. Please RSVP no later than January 5, 2019.
If you have not yet received your invitation, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The world’s largest retail conference and expo is here again. NRF 2019 is expected to bring together over 38,000 attendees, including over 10,000 international attendees, to discuss the latest in retail tech, strategy, leadership, economy and many more topics.
SkillNet will be co-exhibiting at the event with its strategic partner Oracle Retail. Meet us there!
Join SkillNet at NRF Protect 2017! We will be on hand discussing how retailers can minimize losses and protect profitability with Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention services from SkillNet. SkillNet offers Loss Prevention Consulting, Implementation, and Training services to help you protect profitability and secure your future.
June 27-28, 2017
Gaylord National Harbor
The NRF Protect Loss Prevention Conference is, ‘the largest, most important retail and restaurant loss prevention event in North America.’ The conference is especially for those who protect retail brands, assets, people and profits bringing together LP, asset protection, internal audit, ORC investigators, risk management and retail operations professionals responsible for securing retail’s success.
Every year as a token of gratitude to our treasured clients and partners–past, present, and future, we look forward to hosting our annual customer appreciation event surrounding Retail’s Big Show. Come celebrate with us!
This is an invitation-only event. RSVP is required.
If you have not yet received your invitation, please write to email@example.com.
Join SkillNet at NRF Retail’s Big Show to hear our stories of innovation and how we deliver digital transformations. This year’s show will focus on BIG innovation, connections, and solutions.
If you’d like to set up a meeting in advance, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to get your meeting on calendar.
January 15-17, 2017
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City, New York
Retail’s BIG Show is NRF’s flagship event held annually in New York City. The three day event offers unparalleled education, collegial networking with 33,000 of your newest friends, and an enormous EXPO Hall full of technologies and solutions. After more than a century – 106 years to be exact – Retail’s BIG Show is still the only place where you can see and experience all things Retail.
Join us in Dallas! Shop.org’s signature event, Retail’s Digital Summit, brings 5,000 of the industry’s brightest minds together for unparalleled networking and game-changing ideas. At Shop.org, you can connect with people and technologies that will take your marketing, branding, social, mobile and conversion to a whole new level.
We’d love to talk to you about our capabilities in digital commerce and omni-channel enablement. Let’s set up a meeting: contact us
September 26-28, 2016
Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center
SkillNet will be on site at the leading trade fair for retail technology, EuroCIS! See you there!
February 23-25, 2016
Fair Ground Dusseldorf