The Retailer Summer Edition 2022


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Paul Winsor Industry Principal Retail & CPG Snowflake

F rom digital transformation to brand col laboration, learn how forward-thinking retailers can thrive in a changing market. Since the boom of ecommerce in the 1990s, the retail sector has found itself on increasingly uncertain ground, and we’ve never seen market conditions as disruptive as they are today. Customer expectations have changed at pace, and business models have had to adapt to maintain market share and breed brand loyalty. Today, ecommerce continues to be the fastest growing segment of the retail market in Europe and NorthAmerica, meaning brands have to strike the right balance between online shopping, newdigital experiences, and traditional in-store interactions. This is still a challenge for many, but it’s far from the only one today’s retailers face. Post-pandemic customer trends, a growing emphasis on health, climate change and sustainability, and less disposable income all contribute to the current market environment. To thrive in this landscape, retailers need to monitor these trends, keep track of customer expectations, and find newways to deliver the enhanced, personalised, and timely experiences that set brands apart. Here are five strategies that will ready your retail organisation for success. 1. Embrace digital transformation (but really, this time) A128% increase in online sales since 2015 represents a major opportunity for retailers who have already invested significantly in their ecommerce presence. With post-pandemic consumers more likely to spend online, it’s likely that new digital opportunities will continue to present them selves through apps like TikTok and Instagram, and direct-to-customer subscription models. Exploiting these opportunities and finding new ways to interact and engage with increasingly homebound customers is dependent on your ability to understand trends. This requires two things: the right data, and the latest digital capabilities, like AI and machine learning, to turn that data into insights. For retailers that aren’t currently placing digital, data-driven processes at the heart of operations, now is the time to start. The competitive nature of the retail market means those too slow to act will see revenue lost to more nimble, tech-savvy competitors.

2. Double down on data initiatives Whether you’re looking to understand customer habits or improve operational efficiency, data is the cornerstone of successful, modern retail. In fact, Snowflake research shows that 46% of retail and CPG firms are already using data to reveal new market opportunities, and 41% plan to do so in the next 12 months. However, only 4% say they are currently using data to “a great extent” to achieve strategic business goals. And less than a third say the majority of their decisions are informed by data. This means there’s a huge opportunity for data-driven retailers to gain competitive advantage. The most forward-thinking companies are going a step further, though, enriching their data sourceswith third-party datasets to develop deeper and more contextual understandings of the market. With the help of automation, AI, and machine learning, these combined datasets can be used to accurately predict future outcomes and target emerging trends, providing valuable lead time in an industry that can change at breakneck speed. 3. Turn competitors into collaborators One relatively new concept in the data sphere are Data Cleanrooms. These environments enable retailers to share and connect data with other organisations in situations where both parties benefit – all while protecting personal information to ensure alignment with GDPR legislation. In fact, retailers today are increasingly joining forces, either to provide new products, collaborate on projects, or gain greater market share. One CDO interviewed recently outlined the benefits of joining forces with other retailers: “With our own data we can only look internally,” they said. “But we need to look outwards and see things like industry benchmarks, regional trends, and which waves we can ride.” Despite the advantages of pooled resources, Snowflake research shows that just 45% of retail organisations are currently able to exchange data with other organisations. Data marketplaces are helping facilitate this collaboration by providing seamless and secure access and data-sharing capabilities to help retailers better understand customers and the market, and drive new and exciting solutions.

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Finding newways to interact and engage with increasingly homebound customers is dependent on your ability to understand

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