Posted: 26 September 2017
You are not Amazon. That's not an insult, but simply a reality. Amazon has dominated so many markets that retailers can sometimes feel overwhelmed. But why should they get to have all the fun?
The fact is that while disrupting markets, Amazon was also writing blueprints that can be innovated and applied to any number of retail experiences. That blueprint includes testing, experimenting, and gathering data.
When you have a great idea, it's hard to start small. It seems like there should be a direct correlation between you providing a service and others that need it. But that correlation will never come to be if you try to be too much, too soon and customers aren't able to clearly define your business.
It's important to remember that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos started his business selling books out of his garage with the tagline, "Earth's Biggest Book Store." Even though Bezos had already experienced success on Wall Street, he knew that to accomplish his real goal of being the premier seller on the internet, he needed to start small and perfect one thing first.
And when he and his original 5-person team showed the market that they could be trusted to deliver on that one thing, the market rewarded his business by trusting it to expand.
While it seems like a rather large early step to gather vast amounts of data, it's actually quite small. After all, no one is going to sift through each individual piece of data. Rather, the compiled data offers a snapshot of a given market at a given time or of a product at various price points. In short, it is information in bulk, which drives insight.
Putting together small, blended teams of brands, retailers, techies, and analysts to best understand this data can often lead to ground-breaking collective insights. Some of these positions, like tech specialists, have not traditionally been included in retail, so the contribution from them can yield innovative results.
One of the more popular methods of experimentation in e-commerce is A/B testing, which essentially puts two of any variant of the same thing against each other to determine which is more successful.
In the online world, this could mean using a different wording on an item to see how it performs against the normal wording. If that is successful, you hone in a little more and test a new version until you're left with the best performing verbiage.
The method can also be applied to brick and mortar retailers. If you are looking to run a promotion but cannot decide between two different kinds of promotion, conventional wisdom may tell you to just choose one. This new unconventional wisdom says to do one, then the other, and compare. Then do it again, and compare.
Beacon technology is the rising star of retail stores. The difficulty for modern storefronts seems to always be trying to compete with online shopping, but beacons offer a first step that can help level the playing field. Taking this step, however, cannot be done lightly.
It is quite necessary to take small steps to fully understand the technology and how it can be utilised. By taking a "test, measure, test" approach, you will be able to make incremental changes in your use of beacon technology to ensure you are utilising it to its full potential.
This is also where blended teams will be useful, as those who understand the technology will need to work closely with those who understand the customers that will be using the technology.
Where Amazon has succeeded that has left so many others behind is in providing vast amounts of information. Each product has exceptional content from the manufacturer or invaluable reviews from buyers. However, Amazon cannot compete with the personal nature of retail storefronts and the ability to engage in-person with customers.
Beacons allow retailers to use digital information while maintaining a personal connection that online retailers simply cannot provide. They put valuable information into the hands of shoppers in real-time and in a personalised way. It's personal and it's digital, all at once.
Contact us on +44 (0) 1536 460805 for more information on beacons and other POS technology that can help you create a true retail disruption.
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