Strengthening Retail Through Data: Why Data?

Posted on:

March 10th, 2023

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Insights & Thought Leadership

The uncertainty in Retail and the wider economy has become a part of daily life and is naturally driving discussion on how to best drive sales during 2023.  

Regardless of the starting point, participants, or point of view of these conversations the conclusion always seems to be “through the use of data”. By leveraging the power of data, retail businesses can make informed decisions that drive growth and profitability. 

Clekt have consolidated best practice data usage from across the retail sector to share how you can do this more effectively across all aspects of your business.  

Here is the first part of our mini-series Strengthening Retail Through Data. 

Strengthening Retail Through Data - Why data

Conversations in Retail

In October Retail Week & Zebra Technologies released their comprehensive report entitled RETAIL 2023, in which many UK leading retail CEO’s revealed their strategies for the year ahead. These conversations leaned heavily on the importance of timely access to good quality data, the enabling of intelligent decision making and the driving of meaningful change through a solid data strategy.  

McKinsey also released a paper earlier in 2022 with their take of the future of tech & data in business looking to the landscape of 2025. The dominant theme throughout again is the vital importance of data, and the steps businesses must take to become data driven. Conversations which resonate deeply with us at Clekt.  

Focus of Retail Leadership moving into 2023

Limited opportunities for growth and reduced profitability are greatly affecting how the industry is moving into 2023, as a consequence of Inflation reaching a 40 year high and the increasing impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers. 

The need to balance increasing costs within the supply chain, whilst delivering a top-class customer proposition is the headline of many retailer’s strategies. Ensuring real-time access to the right data and having a consolidated singular view of operational and customer data is consequently a critical necessity. 

Retail Forecasts

When the subject of retail sales forecasts was discussed in the survey by Retail Week, 67% of retail CEOs reported expecting 2023 sales figures to top those of 2022. 

This being said 88% of retailers interviewed in 2021 for RETAIL 2022 expected sales to grow year on year. Yet it is shown in this year’s report is that sales in 2022 have been flatter than anticipated. 

Why are these forecasts so wide of the mark?  

Many retailers find themselves data rich but insight poor. With no means of transforming the data collected through your daily business processes into valuable understanding and actionable tasks, your data generates no value.  

Over and above the existing uncertainty in the retail space one thing remains clear: the need to leverage all assets available for future growth & commercial gain. Data is the main asset all businesses possess, but few successfully commercialise it.

A strategy for stability and growth

The reality for most retailers is that the vision of a data-led organisation is a long way off and investing massive upfront costs in this difficult market is of course ill advised. However, a pragmatic, targeted and phased programme of investments can put data front and centre and help you develop a strategy for stability and growth.  

Individual, potentially in-flight projects can be transformed into a section of data-strategy foundation building, offering you ROI at each stage and each taking your retail business a step closer to your insight rich, data-centric future. 

The rest of the series is now available at the links below. Please take a look and get in touch with any comments or questions.

Part 2. Changing Customer Expectations

Part 3. How Much Can You See?

Part 4. The Role of the Store

Part 5. How Can We Help?