Key takeaways

  • Big Data will provide context-rich information needed to create a more relevant, personalised shopping experiences, ultimately resulting in higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.
  • Bridging the gap between off and online, SoLoMo will allow retailers to leverage customer’s geographic proximity, shopping history or activity on social networks in combination to target and offer them contextually relevant offers while on the move

In the first part of this article, we delved into the continued growth of online retail, in addition to the expected shift towards a consumer adaptive approach, as well as the opportunity retailers have to leverage the rise of ‘showrooming’. Below are three more retail trends we expect to see more of in 2013:

Cracking the Big Data code

Digital advancements have truly revolutionised data, communication and the heightened interaction retailers can now have with consumers. By leveraging the vast amounts of consumer data available, will enable a significant competitive advantage for retailers.

While structured data such as transactions, conversions and statistical values have been accessible to retailers for many years, unstructured data is much more intricate. Unstructured data –referred to as Big data – covers the millions of minuscule interactions that consumers are publicising, each and every second across social media networks. In order to capture complex Big Data, it first must be standardised and processed with the help of sophisticated servers, software and correct data fields, before it can be captured, stored and managed efficiently.

For most retailers, this is no easy task. However for those who ‘crack’ the Big Data code and implement the necessary steps to capture the right insights, will be in a position to connect more intimately with shoppers and gain a thorough understanding of their motivations and desires. This level of understanding will enable retailers to up-sell, cross-sell and engage the consumer in more compelling, innovative and personalised ways.

Beyond simple content curation

Big Data will inevitably change retail by providing businesses with the information needed to create a more relevant, personalised shopping experience that keeps customers coming back again and again. In addition to this, throughout the year ahead, we will see more retailers start to utilise Big Data in conjunction with their online stores, along with other highly intuitive technologies centered around personalisation.

However, expectations of basic personalisation will start to go beyond products, whereby consumers are increasingly bombarded with information and are partial to being presented with content curated especially for them.

Adding real-time, behavior-based personalisation to the mix will allow retailers to offer more value to consumers by predicting exactly what they are looking for based on their activities across all channels, then deliver highly personalised services, experiences and products to suit.

The convergence of social, local and mobile – SoLoMo

The convergence of social media, geo-location and mobile technologies, ‘SoLoMo’ (an amalgam for social, local and mobile) represents another sizeable personalisation opportunity.

The real advantage of SoLoMo rests in being able to customise content, retail deals, coupons, special offers and events for individual consumers in real time – not only when they are optimally placed geographically, but when their intent to purchase is at its peak.

With SoLoMo, personalised information can be broadcast to a smartphone user, from a specific retailer based on that user’s geographic proximity, shopping history or activity on social networks. The possibilities for retailers are endless and range from coupons for a soft drink at a nearby food retailer, to building supplies at a hardware store, to a clothing flash sale alert at a shop around the corner.

By harnessing the power of SoLoMo, retailers will inevitably find new ways to bridge the gap between off and online retail experiences. In order to facilitate the growth of their own SoLoMo offering, retailers could implement the following strategies:

  • Ensuring customers opt-in to receive mobile promotions
  • Optimising digital offerings for local searches
  • Introducing location-based offers as part of mobile campaigns

However, to make the most of this trend retailers will need to invest in tools that are fast enough to pinpoint and capture the shopper, at the right time.

Are you considering these technologies and strategies for your retail offering this year? What other upcoming digital trends are most important to you?



John Riccio

John is PwC’s Global Design & Deploy, Experience Consulting partner.

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