Retailers expect investments in technology will help drive customer acquisition, retention

A recent KPMG survey found that almost half (40%) of retailers will be looking to invest in technology to help grow their respective businesses. And engaging the customer through social media and loyalty apps may become significant, as 37% of retailers expect customer retention will be the key to growth while 35% suggested adding to their customer bases will be key.  

It further illustrates the fact that marketers need to take an omnichannel approach to engage today's consumers. 

That significance within social media and loyalty apps is simple, really. Marketers can't expect to generate a trip if they're not effectively reaching the consumer with their marketing messages. After all, that's the underlying premise of omnichannel retailing — reaching the consumer with a shopping solution wherever, whenever and however she wants that solution, and then personalizing that solution with the help of big data analytics. 

So investments in the technology that make omnichannel retailing possible, as well as the big data analysis to help drive better shopping compliance, now may be the most efficient way to reach a marketer's target demographic, drive trips, engender loyalty and subsequently generate growth. 

The savvier retailers have already been making investments into technology-driven omnichannel potential, as evidenced by Rite Aid's latest announcement that it will expand its Wellness+ loyalty program to specifically target baby boomers. For a pharmacy retailer, baby boomers represent a gold mine of prescriptions and chronic disease management services, and boosting customer acquisition and retention across this demographic is paramount. 

Today's grandparents are becoming more and more new-technology savvy, according to a recent Pew survey that found that social network adoption across seniors is exploding. In 2012, 1-in-3 seniors learned how to better keep tabs on their grandkids through such mediums as Facebook and Twitter, as compared to 1-in-5 in 2011. 

But it's not enough to just reach consumers across social media or with loyalty apps; mining actionable insights out of big data represents another key investment in technology for marketers. According to IRI, the U.S. CPG and retailing industries potentially could see more than $10 billion in annual value created as a result of improved application of advanced analytics to support brands and channels. 

"If the top 20 CPG manufacturers were able to work collaboratively with the top 10 U.S. retailers and leverage analytics to tap incremental consumer profit pools, we estimate the impact to be more than $10 billion annually for just a 5% improvement," wrote Robert Holston, EVP and division leader of symphony analytics at IRI, in a recent IRI white paper based on IRI's Analytics 2020 survey of senior CPG and retail executives. "For a typical $5 billion CPG manufacturer, this equates to more than $75 million of incremental annual value created by only driving retail sales improvement 3%."

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