Why Analytics Is the Key to Success in the Digital Shopping Age

Analytics remains a hot topic for apparel retailers, especially as consumer shopping habits continue to evole. Apparel Magazine caught up with Zensar CEO Sandeep Kishore to get his take on how retailers can leverage this technology to improve operations and connect with customers. 

Q. What is in-store analytics and how can retailers leverage this technology to capitalize on the excitement of New York Fashion Week and personalize the shopping experience?

A. One of the sectors dominated by trends and change is the fashion industry. The importance of leading fashion weeks is to not only showcase new styles, but also build new customer connections.

With all the glitz and glamour Fashion Week catwalk hits don’t always translate into store bestsellers for retailers. Their biggest challenge is to predict which fashion collection items will wow their store audiences. In-store analytics solutions help retailers analyze shopping behavior and customer preferences. They can create conversations with customers, and the analytics tell the retailer what the customer is looking for, making shopping connected and simple. Today’s consumers are digital buyers who want everything available at their fingertips.

Q. Why is the time right for apparel retailers to invest in in-store analytics solutions?

A. New digital technology tools have changed the shopping experience significantly. At Zensar, we partner some of the leading global retail brands, helping them to leverage seamless digital transformation. Retailers are seeing the benefits of investing in new age tools like Wi-Fi beacons that can read a customer’s behavior, relaying live insights into their search and queries. Additionally, we are seeing that in the case of apparel, many multi-brand stores are tapping into these tools to help customers get access to alternate brands in the absence of the one they might be looking for.

Q. How can in-store analytics help retailers capture the Millennial customer?

A. Millennials are digital natives. Surrounded by apps and other digital tools, they are shoppers on the go. Used to having things at their fingertips, they are looking for personalized recommendations, liking the attention they receive from brands.  Emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, can help stores to wow the Millennial shoppers with a new experience.

4. Despite the growing popularity of shopping online, cart abandonment is still a major issue plaguing retailers. What can they do to improve conversion and entice shoppers to complete transactions?

Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers, based on BI Intelligence estimates. Shopping cart abandonment often happens when the site is not user-centric enough.

For example, we are working with The Foschini Group (TFG), South Africa’s largest apparel, jewelry and home furnishings specialty retailer, to develop seamless online shopping experience across TFG’s multiple menswear stores encompassing a range of trendy fashion to the exclusive tailored collections, all available at the click of a button. The new sites offer all access to TFG’s key menswear brands like Markham, Fabiani and Relay Jeans. User-centricity and convenience are underlying principles.  Shoppers can easily navigate through 10 TFG group store sites, with just one shopping cart enabled, making it a one click shopping destination. The site has an automated wish list messaging feature that has a calendar functionality to remind customer on special occasions and a store locator feature in case the product is not available online.

Q. Big Data is all retailers seem to talk about these days. But how can they leverage technology to turn mounds of data into actionable insights?

A. Data, bundled with intelligent insights can add to the bottom lines of retailers. In our experience, mere technology is not enough. You need specially created solutions or tools that digitally glean insights from the data, turning them into actionable insights. Aimed at understanding consumer behavior, predicting their queries and building a demographic profile is critical to the business of any retail brand to succeed in the digital shopping age.

Sandeep Kishore is CEO and managing director of Zensar Technologies, a provider of digital solutions and technology services.