IRCE 2012 Report: Leveraging Big Data for Business Success
According to Cisco, data traffic will grow 10x by 2016 while online revenue will only double. Retailers are absolutely overwhelmed right now with technology options to help them acquire, convert, retain and expand customer relationships within the online realm. Yet, learning how to leverage data to communicate with customers appears to be at the crux of defining winners and losers in the market. Without proper information flow and visual information experiences, both users and business managers bog down with "information overload" and become frustrated with shopping.
During the 2012 Internet Retailer Conference, Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, gave a great keynote speech where he shared what Walmart.com is doing to drive retail innovation and offered a vision of how the retailer sees the future of customer engagement and omnichannel marketing at enterprise scale by leveraging data from both internal and external "signals" in customer behavior to better service customer needs. Some of Anderson's most compelling insights came when he was talking about omnichannel retail and its impact on the customer experience. Anderson showed a forward looking marketing video depicting how ecommerce technology is revolutionizing the in-store retail experience even more than online at Walmart.com. By synergizing labels and merchandising tactics to include mobile applications that allow customers to research, check inventory, review, and check-out in-store via smart mobile phones, a unified shopping experience that empowers customers, enriches experience, and potentially cuts cost is the future of cross-channel merchandising and support. “The next generation of retail is changing the way customers shop with the advent of online, social and mobile combined with physical stores,” Anderson says.
What I found most interesting about the video was that it was missing a key component in the information flow and design. The "omnichannel" vision certainly hits all the consumer touch points and key functionality that today's online shopper expects for a seamless retail experience such as mobile apps, site to store, real-time wish lists, etc. However, it assumes that the customer is not only "connected" to the various Walmart internet devices and apps, but that they are continually and actively engaged with the brand to constantly use these tools. In an ADD world with automation and hassle-free shopping a priority, I think this is a major flaw in the current conception of retailers. Truly leveraging big data to better serve and communicate with your customers means creating relevant, personalized, real-time, dynamic, visual content that is both interactive in design and truly helpful in terms of its message. In short, the signals can't just be used for analytics reports to create nicer apps and merchandise displays, but to actually engage the customer in compelling conversation.
Data driven personalized recommendation engines like Baynote and Certona as well as retargeted display solutions like Criteo and Dotomi are good examples of leveraging this kind of data to create dynamic offers. SundaySky's SmartVideo solution takes this evolution to the next level with completely automated, data-driven online video. Effectively making the most potent communication and engagement medium ever created (video) now a one-to-one communication rather than the traditional broadcast video creation of one-to-many is key to connecting with the 21st century connected consumer.
We look forward to hearing more about Walmart.com’s ecommerce and in-store successes. Until then, do you think Walmart.com is optimally leveraging its customers’ big data? Would SmartVideo take Walmart.com it to the next level?