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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Changing Customer Retail Experience. Data Vs. Insights

No surprise, the Customer Retail Experience is changing. It's due to technology, the economy and also the consumer. From what I can tell, the change is exciting. However, like all change, it's also disruptive and disconcerting. Will you join me as I explore some of these changes? I'd love to hear your perspectives.

First topic to explore: data.

More specifically customer retail data and how to glean customer retail insights from the data.

After all, there's a ton of data available nowadays.

How do you use all of that data?  How do you make consumer meaning from it? How do you interpret point-of-sale measures to determine how customers behave in-store?

It's a question asked of 4 retail experts in a discussion about retail trends and shopper marketing in DDI Magazine's March 2010 issue. The article is titled "Minding the customer" by Janet Groeber and includes perspectives from Herb Sorenson, Paco Underhill, Vince Guzzi and Marcie Merriman. The article includes a multitude of other gems worth addressing separately.

Back to data.

The question about retail data had me thinking intensely about data vs. information and insight. And about what sales data don't tell us, particularly about customer behavior in-store.

If I think through some of my shopping expeditions and the ones where I opt for self-service vs. live service, I guarantee that no retail executive can understand why I choose one over the other simply based on my sales data.  I bet it's the same for you.

Marcie Merriman explains "this data can't tell the retailer why things are working without elaborate testing, which still may not provide accurate or definitive feedback."

Paco Underhill says "Gathering data is easy, but figuring out what it means often requires going into the field." He should know. For perspective on that, read In Bid to Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers from The New York Times.

What's your take on data vs. insights and the changing retail experience?

How often do you find yourselves going into the field and spending time in-store watching what actually happens so you have better context for interpreting the mounds of data? And, when you do, don't you emerge filled with ideas and insights?

[P.S.: This question also reminded me of my Surfaces 2008 Presentation: What Your Register Tape Doesn't Tell You.]


Live Answering Service said...

Thank you for your thoughts; you bring up an interesting point. The ideas and insights are very worth reading.:)

CB Whittemore said...

Live Answering Service, thanks so much! I really appreciate your comment. Thanks for taking the time.


Promotional Products said...

You make some great points here, data is very useful, but often doesn't tell the entire story of what the consumer desires.

CB Whittemore said...

Promotional Products, it's good to hear you say so. I imagine that you struggle with the same issues given that so much of your data is digital. How do you ensure you get the entire story?


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