Why Retailers Must Become Real-Time

upstream commerceBy Gilon Miller, CMO, Upstream Commerce

Global eCommerce retail sales hit $1 trillion for the first time in the last quarter of 2012, and Forrester analysts predict U.S. sales will reach $327 billion for 2016. Notably, consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping last year using mobile devices, and $5 billion of those purchases were made on tablets. Furthermore, consumers using tablets spent an average of $10 more per purchase.

Add to this the transparency of information, more skillful use of technology by both consumers and retailers, and frequent changing of prices, and you see the dramatically changing world of retail. “With these challenges, competitive retail intelligence is far too critical to leave to the non-real-time, highly variable nature of human assessment, judgment and action,” says Upstream Commerce CEO, Amos Peleg. “In order to remain competitive, independent retailers need to use actionable and timely price and product assortment insights, and they need the critical information right at their fingertips.”

To compete and draw business, many brick and mortar stores are adapting to attract the ever-connected consumer, and opening online outlets to provide multichannel services. At the same time, some online retailers are opening real stores to provide physical locations for merchandising, ordering and delivery.

Retailers are taming and harnessing technology recognizing, not only the connected consumer, but the value and importance of using competitive pricing and assortment intelligence solutions, 24/7, to measure, monitor and adapt to competitive product offerings and prices, in real time.

Social Media And SEO Influence

Retailers needing to reach consumers via a variety of technologies are becoming much more sophisticated and savvy about maximizing SEO and social media exposure across the board to highlight their brand, and entice and satisfy customers.

“Omnichannel” Marketing is the new watchword as retailers scramble to provide information, service and sales, whether the customer comes via a search engine, website, social medium or store. In other words, retailers have to seamlessly reach consumers by every method possible, Peleg stresses.

Google continues to dominate as a search engine and resource. Retailers need to present their information in the best ways to Google to get the greatest exposure. On the other hand, beyond its purpose as the biggest search information engine, Google is said to be preparing to compete with retail.

Amazon represents another daunting challenge to other retailers. The eCommerce retail giant constantly changes its prices to be the most competitive. And, on another front, Amazon has built many delivery centers to push same-day delivery; and many of the larger retailers are following suit.

Competitive Technology & Supporting Services Become A Necessity

Retailers, big and small, online and off, need to know what the competition is doing at all times and set prices properly for sales and profit. In today’s ultra-fast-paced world, they must harness the best of technology to automate processes and deliver information for analysis, strategic decision-making and price optimization, using the latest in intelligence tools, solutions, and services. Thus, some have begun to utilize serious technological support like cloud-based retail intelligence. These specialized services have become absolutely essential so retailers have the information at their fingertips to compete and succeed in real-time, in today’s marketplace, in order to keep up and stay ahead of the competition.

Gilon Miller is Upstream Commerce‘s CMO, with over 15 years of experience in software and writes about Competitive Pricing and Price Intelligence in online retail. Miller holds an MBA from MIT and a BSc in engineering from Tufts University. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.