The future of retail in 2020

September 15, 2020
Datisan Analytics

Who would have thought that this year would catapult the retail industry years ahead in the digital age?

Retail has certainly been one of the hardest hit industries in the current pandemic, and with a potential threat of recession on the horizon, there are definitely new challenges for the industry ahead.

But challenges often breed opportunities. With more customers purchasing online, retailers have more tangible, richer data to play with. And with the right infrastructure, strategy and implementation – they can create better experiences for their customers. 

In B.C. times (Before COVID-19), we ran an Australian Digital Marketing Maturity survey which looked at the overall benchmarks by industry and state. While this year’s survey is still open for responses, the ability to compare last year’s data with this year will no doubt make for very interesting reading.

Last year’s responses were scored against four levels of increasing digital maturity:

We found that the average placed the retail industry in the second category – emerging. Broken down further, in terms of data-driven marketing, retail ranked 53% compared to the average 57% across all sectors.

In marketing automation and activation, the results showed 41% as opposed to 46% for the rest of the nation. Marketing measurement and attribution was slightly above average at 49%, and organisational collaboration was again above the mean at 56%. 

To extrapolate some meaningful insights, Datisan’s Report showed that:

83% of retail businesses were using 1st and 3rd party data to deliver targeting marketing campaigns.

The report also showed that over

Half of retailers have disconnected customer data, where their online and offline customer journeys are not linked to digital marketing activities.

It’s clear that a lot has happened in the world since we ran last year’s survey, but would be remiss of us not to address it. The global pandemic has changed the way that customers are interacting with retailers and this has accelerated digital growth and transformation.

Customers have had to move almost exclusively to online experiences, away from the brick and mortar of old, and towards embracing e-commerce. And with that has come a greater expectation for better, more seamless and personalised customer experiences. 

What we have heard retail industry CMOs have been questions like:

How do we keep up with the renewed digital expectations of our customers?

I’ve invested heavily in tech, how do I maximise the value I get from my platforms?

How can we better understand our customers, and how to acquire, retain and nurture relationships with them in an increasingly multi-channel world?

The key indicators that we have found for retail organisations who are kicking goals in digital maturity are a strong alignment between their IT and marketing teams, being customer centric and using predictive decision making.

Organisations that use cloud marketing data platforms with all of their data sources plugged in are able to achieve a single customer view with unified 1st party data in one fast, secure and scalable environment. 

First party data is of far better quality and provides better targeting capabilities.

Simon Pereira (CEO, Wondaris) –

These businesses can expect an increased ability to visualise, analyse and segment data for more effective marketing campaign implementation. Plus, by using smart analytics and artificial intelligence insight generation is accelerated for a better understanding of their high value customers – what messaging to be targeting them with, where, and when. This in turn also helps to maximise return on investment for advertising spend.

The future of retail may still be somewhat uncertain, but by adopting new cloud data technologies and embracing the digital age is a surefire way to safeguard against analogue obsolescence.

To find out how your retail business can make the leap to cloud for marketing technologies, get in touch with Datisan today.