Many retailers have created online “storefronts” and other creative ways to give customers more control of their shopping experience.
Still, most retailers are underutilizing advanced technologies to capitalize on the moment of truth in the buying process: the point of decision.
Now, an innovative combination of digital channels and data analytics allows retailers to interact with customers as they shop in the store, online or via mobile device, gaining one complete view of the customer across all channels.
Retailers can monetize increased level of customer insight by extending it to suppliers, potentially creating an new, ongoing revenue stream.
At our Accenture Labs, we’ve been working on a cross-channel platform that enables suppliers to offer real-time promotions at the point of decision.
Most data-analytics solutions for the retail industry have focused on enhancing what retailers can offer customers—such as customer segmentation, personalized recommendations, and recipes—or how retailers can improve internal processes, such as smarter inventory or supply-chain management.
So far, retailers have largely underutilized the more advanced digital-channel and data-analytics technologies to dynamically influence customers’ purchasing decisions, especially at the critical moment of truth when a customer is deciding between two competing products.
Nor has much attention been paid to the link between retailers and their suppliers in terms of leveraging new technologies to fortify business relationships and enhance profitability.
The shift to digital channels opens up new possibilities for retailers.
Whether the customer is standing in front of an actual shelf with a smartphone or pondering selections online, the retailer can use the cross-channel promotion platform to market products.
For example, a grocery store could tell a supplier representing a specific brand of pasta that a shopper who typically buys a competing brand is in the aisle.
Moreover, using frequent-shopper card data, the store could also tell the supplier about this shopper’s buying habits, signal an impending choice and give the supplier a chance to do something about it.
All of this would happen in real time, using predetermined promotional campaigns set by the supplier.
Our platform alleviates some of the problems with traditional marketing mechanisms, such as the overuse of promotions by certain segments of customers who are not necessarily the target.
We address this issue by offering time-sensitive, individualized deals to customers in the target group.
Moreover, by collecting data at the checkout, we provide suppliers with real-time analytics and insight on the performance of their campaigns and the return on investment (ROI).
Our platform can tell suppliers if their promotion was viewed by the target customers and what percentage of the promotions viewed resulted in a purchase.
Better still, it can go a step further and let suppliers know what percentage of specific promotion campaigns resulted in a change of brand loyalty.
Using the cross-channel promotion platform, retailers can monetize customers’ attention and in-store foot traffic, much the same way Google monetizes its search engine online traffic.
Since retailers have access to customers’ full shopping journey, the platform can measure what percentage of the promotions shown to customers results in purchase, both in the long-and short-term.
Therefore, retailers can charge suppliers accordingly, based on promotions resulting in purchase or in loyalty conversion.
Suppliers stand to benefit as well, boosting marketing and advertising ROI from a number of factors, including:
Accurate ROI measurement
Behavior modification at the point of decision
The platform provides suppliers with aggregate, anonymous data to accurately measure effectiveness of different promotional campaigns.
Meanwhile, the retailer provides a better experience for both customers and suppliers.
Based on our Accenture Labs research, we recommend high-performance retailers give serious consideration to the potential of our cross-channel promotion platform.
This tool empowers them to utilize vast amounts of data, available through myriad channels, about their customers, products and suppliers.
It offers a virtual layer on top of the physical shelf space, facilitating new opportunities and a more personalized engagement between retailers, suppliers and customers.
The platform also enables retailers and their suppliers to measure ROI accurately, and adjust their operations accordingly.
Most importantly, it gives retailers an unmatched opportunity to make customers digitally visible and accessible at a pivotal point in the buying process—and capture an entirely new revenue stream on their journey to high performance.