The study, "Data Analytics: The Smart Move in Retail, was conducted for Exasol and found that 58% of retail decisions are being guided by data.
The strategic importance the sector places on data is demonstrated by the ownership of data strategies within retail organisations. Over 80% of respondents say the data strategy is now owned by a member of the C-suite.
Retailers are relying on data to drive better insights and decision making to address specific challenges within their businesses. Respondents stated they used data for decisions on sales and marketing campaigns (70%), price optimisation to overcome issues around diminishing margins and increased competition for revenues (64%), and better supply chain management (55%).
However, the study also revealed that many retailers have not yet implemented a strategy that provides a holistic view of their customers. Despite customer experience becoming a mantra for leading retailers, only 46% have implemented data analytics to better understand their customers’ behaviour and needs across channels.
Exasol chief executive Aaron Auld said: "The retail sector continues to be pushed to the limits by the always-connected, digitally-minded consumers that want convenience, personalisation and value in the omnichannel world. Retailers are coping with razor-thin profit margins, increasing the pressure to deliver for customers at any time, any place, at the right cost, and personalised to them.
“Our research shows that, despite the big ecommerce brands having set the standards for omnichannel and customer experience, more than half of retailers still lack the all-important single customer view. Customers don’t only wish for, but expect, an exceptional and consistent experience across all channels now.
"The new battle lies in better understanding and successfully anticipating what will appeal to individual customers. Winning that battle is reliant on having the right data strategy and exploiting the speed and depth of insight now made possible by in-memory analytical databases.”