Data is king, and elite performers recognize this. Surveyed brands across the board plan to employ nearly 50 percent more data scientists over the next three years. I love the enthusiasm for data, but brands shouldn’t rush to hire an excess of data scientists without the infrastructure and processes to support their talents. Underperformers lag in a few key areas that beg resolution before data scientists can help, including governance (68 percent are deficient here), agility (63 percent can’t respond to consumer demands in an agile way) and security (unfortunately, 54 percent of underperformers don’t have rigorous compliance and security to monitor and protect consumer data, which is concerning, to say the least). Hiring data scientists before you figure out these core competencies is putting the cart before the horse.
While data scientists are certainly valuable to retailers, brands also should know how to prioritize data access and actionability -- that’s the first, and most important, order of business.
The prioritization of data-driven insights will allow brands to offer hyper-personalized engagement, like tailored pricing, optimized search, and personalized content, making the most of their customer engagement and ultimately increasing conversions. Today we’re talking about Apple Pay and Alexa. Tomorrow, who knows what innovations we’ll be talking about? But I can assure you that data and cross-functional teamwork — aligning the journey across marketing, sales, and commerce — will continue to be fundamental to success.
As consumer behaviors change and new technologies continue to emerge, it will be vital for retailers to stay abreast of these trends to and pioneer new technology solutions. Blazing the trails ahead with innovative new strategies is possible with data as the bedrock. We’re seeing a massive shift in the industry toward unifying around the customer. This transformation is just getting started.
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