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Retail Marketing & Merchandising Must Sing Off The Same Sheet Music

by Robert Hetu  |  May 15, 2014  |  3 Comments

The 2014 IBM Smarter Commerce is this week. Not surprisingly there was a major emphasis on marketing. Countless sessions on personalization, contextualization, mobility, digital media, real time offers and the customer analytics that underpin these efforts. The future business opportunities provided by these new marketing techniques are obvious. For some businesses the marketing message and corresponding performance are tightly integrated and require little advance planning.

For others like retail there is a significant danger that we will disappoint customers with marketing messages that don’t match the ability to execute in the multichannel environment. Not that this is a new revelation but the striking contrast between these two critical functions was so clearly focused that I hope retailers take heed. As IBM’s Paul Papas @papasgbs noted the most pleasant experience that the consumer has with any type of business becomes the new standard by which your effectiveness is measured. That’s right, like so many things today technology and consumerization is moving the bar much faster than multichannel retailer’s ability to respond.

Let’s say a product you carry is featured prominently on the popular daily talk show Ellen. Your savvy marketing team picks up on the social buzz and through advanced targeted marketing is able to send offers through social media and mobility to your most likely customers, alerting them that the product is available in their local store or online. We know that roughly 60% or more of those consumers will opt for purchasing in store. While this is a great opportunity what about in-store execution? Will store managers be alerted to the event and to expect increased demand? Will store personnel know to display the product prominently and to ensure all product is placed on the sales floor? What if supplies are limited, how will they handle customers that show up after stock runs out? Will they know when more will arrive? Perhaps the product isn’t carried in all stores.  How will the customer know this fact?  But of course the messaging said in small print that quantities are limitted and the product is not carried in all stores. I am sure the customer will overlook that you targeted them with a direct message.

Multichannel execution is going to increase in complexity and move at an accelerated pace for several years to come. All of the customer analytics made available to marketing must also drive assortments by channel and store. This is an undeniable fact.

The Excel Effect:


Gartner 2014

Another is that if you are using Excel to drive assortments you will fail to delight the customer and ultimately cease to exist. C-suite executives, heads of merchandising, marketing, strategy, store operations, ecommerce and others must start now to address this gap. The ones that figure it out first will be the winners and others will cease to exist.

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Category: merchandising-process  retail-trends  

Tags: analytics  bi  brands  c-suite  cio  consumers  context  customer-analytics  customer-centricity  digital  ecommerce  marketing  merchandising  mobility  multichannel  omni-channel  personalization  real-time  real-time-offers  retail  satisfaction  social-media  stores  trends  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Retail Marketing & Merchandising Must Sing Off The Same Sheet Music

  1. […] Retail Marketing & Merchandising Must Sing Off The Same Sheet Music […]

  2. […] The 2014 IBM Smarter Commerce is this week. Not surprisingly there was a major emphasis on marketing.  […]

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