About 40% of 100 merchandising professionals and category managers surveyed by JDA Software Group said big data and predictive analytics are their top investment priorities over the next five years, according to “The JDA Voice of the Category Manager” study.
Another 37% cited investments in customer-driven data science as a top priority. About 80% said they were “somewhat” successful in mining consumer data to generate usable insights, but only 17% said they were “highly” successful at doing so.
Asked about the areas in which they felt they were behind, almost 70% of respondents said they struggle to leverage improved pricing and merchandising, and 60% of respondents claimed they are behind in leveraging geographic and socio-economic data for targeted promotions and offers.
Other notable figures from this survey: 68% of respondents highlighted personalization and localization, and 62% pinpointed increased development of digital technologies as the top priorities for solutions they plan to implement within the next year to serve their shoppers more effectively. Another recent study from Qubit backs up that notion, suggesting that personalization enhancements to e-commerce sites could do more to deliver new revenue to retailers than any cosmetic changes to their web sites.
However, to support personalization and localization, retailers need to unearth insights from the piles of data they have about their customers — who they are, where they shop, how often they buy and plenty more.
The study also noted the importance of effectively localizing product assortment, which is dependent on a company’s ability to identify the key product attributes that drive local preferences and demand in each category. Companies evaluate the performance of their localization efforts by measuring an increase in sales, greater visibility in stores and improved inventory levels, the study stated.
“Retailers and manufacturers that want to stay on top will need to be able to implement personalized localization at scale and with speed,” Todd McCourtie, senior director of solution strategy at JDA, said in a press release. “While this will require some organization-wide changes to policies and procedures, as well as the adoption of technology solutions to help automate processes, it is a necessary evolution for those responsible for merchandising decisions.”
The survey also solicited opinions on how and why retailers adopt mobile technologies to engage shoppers. About 26% of those surveyed said augmented reality technology that provides shoppers with personalized information while shopping was a top reason, while 25% had their hearts set on allowing customers to use mobile phones via Internet of Things beacons for increased self-education on products. Another 21% identified in-store mapping for easy self-navigation around stores as a top reason to adopt mobile, and 19% said they believed location-based mobile coupons would be most beneficial.
Augmented reality is definitely a rising technology, though it is surprising to hear it is the top reason for adopting mobile technology, simply because it is not going to make sense for every type of retailer. Allowing customers to use in-store mobile technology for self-education and navigation makes a lot of sense given how customers have increasingly begun to use their own mobile phones as part of the in-store shopping process.