Mobile is changing both the front and back end experience of the customer journey. 

Not only are customers using devices to research, buy and discover products, marketers are using devices to gather crucial data to accelerate the sales path. 

One area of successful digital transformation is how mobile analytics has changed the buying experience – in retail, hospitality and even healthcare. 

We all love ecommerce with its efficiency and cost effective sales approach. 

Yet, the retail floor is still a huge opportunity – not just for sales, but for insights on customer behavior and interests. 

(If you need more proof, look at how the king of ecommerce Amazon, is moving into brick and mortar.)

While manufacturer feedback programs have improved over the past two decades with the introduction of sales receipt data and custom couponing, mobile analytics is taking consumer insights to a new level. 

In retail, perishable goods from yogurt to frozen foods have the most intense considerations for predictive analytics, as overstocking from a miss on sales expectations can result in major product spoilage. 

Similarly, beverage companies have found that optimized sales require constant attention to the display, samples and price adjustments for competitive promotions.  

Even sales of non-perishable goods like shavers from Gillette or magazines can suffer if the product placement is not optimal for that store, market and customer base.

Hotels and resorts have long used mobile data to encourage guests to upgrade, take advantage of on-site services, and eat in the location’s restaurants.  

Loyalty programs are now processing app data in real time to offer custom incentives and future bookings. 

Healthcare wellness programs now use fitness app data to track patient progress and drug regimen efficacy.

Mobile analytics is transforming the opportunity by providing back office teams a view into the retail floor, hotel lobby and customer habits. 

The need for organizational change

A recent report from Aberdeen Group found that top performing retail brands are 50% more likely than others to use analytics when managing store level activities.  

When field workers are provided with smartphones, smartwatches and tablets, they can capture accurate data around stock levels and store sales in real time. 

The back office can analyze the data and make quick decisions about promotions, stock replenishment and product mix.

Making a switch to analytics-driven measures requires a change in both corporate culture and employee up-skilling.  

The organization must understand the power of real time analytics, and be structured to embrace and utilize the data quickly and efficiently

Most merchandizing teams know the factors that have traditionally impacted sales, controlled and uncontrolled, from packaging to weather. 

The ability to assess and draw insights from data in real time is a similar set of skills, but with an agility and pace that focuses on core behavior drivers and uses an expanded set of actionable data. 

It takes a cross-functional team to support this kind of agile decision-making – all of whom need skills in agile marketing as well as data collection, management and analytics.

The Aberdeen report shows that a formal process for demand planning and management – including mobile insights – has a very high impact on revenue growth and margins.  

Mobile insights alone are not enough, but they are a key element in keeping a real-time view of the retail sales floor, and a much more reliable and accurate measure of how sales are affected by promotions and outside factors like weather, cultural/pop trends, and seasonal events. 

“Being able to predict the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of products is imperative as organizations enable their field teams to work smarter and faster,” the Aberdeen report found.  

Plus, the marketing analytics and merchandizing teams can quickly chart a customer experience measure – and see where product changes or seasonal promotions have impact. 

 The key benefits of gathering and utilizing real time insights through mobile reported by Aberdeen are:

  1. New revenue by capturing opportunity and avoiding risk
  2. Increased operational efficiency
  3. Customer experience improvements.

Is your organization ready to embrace mobile analytics as a real time source of actionable insights? How are you using data captured via mobile devices in the field?

Is there an opportunity to utilize existing data in a real-time fashion? 

For organizations outside of retail – hospitality, healthcare or transportation – are there lessons here to be adapted? 

Please provide comments below or email me anytime.