Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
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If you’re not familiar with our State of Smart work, an overview of our research and findings can be found in our Executive Report. We surveyed over 1100 executives worldwide across 9 industries to determine their organizations’ information and analytics capabilities (we refer to these capabilities as “listen” and “anticipate”). We found that organizations with these capabilities significantly outperformed their peers: 1.6x revenue growth, 2x EBITDA growth, and 2.5x stock price appreciation over a five year period. Not bad, huh?
But this only tells part of the story. We also asked these enterprises about where they realize value from analytics and how they deploy “listen” and “anticipate” capabilities. So let’s dig into the retail data a bit deeper.
For our purposes, we’re going to refer to retailers in the top right quadrant as “Outperformers” and everybody else as “Others”. Only 29% of retailers are Outperformers. About 62% of retailers have a high level of “listen” capabilities while only 38% of retailers have a high level of “anticipate” capabilities.
What this tells us is that retailers are pretty good at “Listening” – i.e. capturing data. By and large, most retailers have done a good job of laying down an information foundation. However, a much smaller proportion of those retailers are then translating that data into actionable insights.
So we know that retailers have room to improve when it comes to leveraging the data that they capture. What other interesting insights did we uncover?
For starters, as you might expect from the high “listen” capabilities, retail Outperformers are very good at capturing different types of data. Specifically, 84% of Outperformers capture data at every customer interaction (this was the highest % across any industry we surveyed). The 'data at every customer interaction' spread between outperformers and others is 2.2x, the second highest gap among the nine industry categories.
Additionally, the 56% of the Outperformers captured unstructured data versus 35% of the Others. Essentially the Outperformers are looking beyond individual transaction data and are mining social media, weather patterns, etc to drive more robust information for applied decision making.
The Outperformers then leverage this information to drive actionable insights about their customers. For example, 84% of Outperformers (vs 38% of Others) use their information and analytics capabilities to recommend actions to customers. This can take the form of both customer facing recommendations, such as cross-selling or up-selling opportunities, or internal actions such as identifying next best actions to convert abandoned baskets or reactivate a dormant customer.
The holy grail of retailers has long been to develop deep insights about customers from a variety of data sources and then use these insights to drive actions that positively impact the customer experience and consequently improve their top and bottom line. Our data shows that the Outperformers are doing just that.
What we’ve talked about so far is fairly intuitive. However in the course of analyzing the State of Smart data we saw several things that intrigued us. For instance, found that only 36% of Outperformers vs 31% of Others realized value from customer relationship management. We expected the overall percentages to be higher and gap to be wider. The data suggest several things. First, the true value of CRM has likely not yet been realized by most retailers. Second, the outperformers haven’t yet found a way to drive the additional insights they’ve been generating into their CRM practices.
Hopefully you found this deep dive into our State of Smart retail industry data to be interesting and useful. If you're interested in calculating the potential impact that developing your "listen" and "anticipate" capabilities can have on your business, I suggest you take a quick look at our Smarter Merchandising and Smarter Shopping Experience toolsets. We've developed online calculators that let you quickly and easily get an idea of the potential economic benefits that leveraging analytics can have for your organization.
I’ll be posting more deep dive articles over the next few months. Check back next next week for a deep dive into the banking industry data. If you have any questions about this article or requests for future articles, please feel free to let me know.