Customer Data & Analytics Blog

What Mass Retailers Can Learn From Mom and Pop Stores

Katie DeMatteis | 2 minute read


It’s undeniable:  The digital age has radically shifted the world of retail.  Door to door salesmen have been replaced by Facebook and Twitter ads.  Video stores have been taken over by Hulu and Netflix.  With this move toward digital, the types of available data, as well, have shifted.  In the past, retailers were able to track what merchandise sold (or didn’t sell) and, depending on the store, they may have also taken note of who bought what.  Today there is endless data about browsing, navigation, product discovery, what things were bought in what combination, who is talking about which brands on social media, etc.  Although the ability to gather information is expanding, many mass retailers are losing sight of the most integral aspect of sales: understanding.  This is where “mom and pop” type stores have their advantage.  Mr. K from the corner grocery knows that every Sunday Alice comes in and buys a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of rye bread.  Sometimes he even has it waiting for her.  

What are businesses doing wrong?

Large businesses generally source their data from a variety of channels and store it in multiple locations.  This means that it is frequently unstructured—offering limited insights when left in its original form.  Without a real-time, comprehensive understanding of customer behavior, you can’t deliver relevant offers, resolve issues in a timely fashion, or breed trust.  Simply “marketing to the masses” doesn’t work.  

Imagine if every Sunday when Alice came into the corner store, Mr. K tried to sell her dog food—offering her a variety of discounts and promoting the health benefits of certain brands. Never having shown any interest in the product before, and not owning a pet, Alice would likely be confused.  If this behavior continued week after week, she would become frustrated and uncomfortable and would take her business elsewhere.  This is true on a larger scale, as well.  If you send too many irrelevant promotions or offers, your customers are going to find somewhere else to shop.  Consumers want to feel that companies understand them, they want to receive promotions tailored to their interests and needs.

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It’s an easier fix than you think

You have the power to create an entirely individualized customer marketing solution.  The data you already have can entirely transform how your business operates, how you market, and how you sell your products.  The key is showing your customers that you know them—intimately.

But, how?  Using an AI/Machine Learning Platform (like ZyloTech’s), each piece of your customer data can be identified, unified, cleansed, and enriched to create full profiles, which update in near-real-time.  These profiles offer a comprehensive view of every individual’s behavior patterns, activities, and sentiments toward different brands and products.  With this information, an   AI software can suggest optimum offers and next best steps for interaction.

If used correctly, customer data has the power to create a relationship with a large online retailer that is as familiar as the relationship Alice has with Mr. K from the grocery down the road.

Topics: Personalization