Retailers should invest in building analytics and data intelligence into their businesses to compete against the next wave of digitally-native competitors, according to a new report from SapientRazorfish and Salesforce.

The report “Shopper-first Retailing: What Consumers Are Telling Us About The Future of Shopping” examines “the next evolution of personalisation” — going beyond the mandated set of product recommendations to use data, AI and machine learning to more efficiently connect shoppers to products.

“The use of intelligence in retail has swelled from a spreadsheet on an analyst’s desk to a board-level agenda item,” the report states.

“Specific to the shopping experience, advances in data science coupled with shopper acceptance of personalisation provides retailers with real, viable applications for connecting shopper and product more efficiently and effectively than ever.”

According to the report, personalisation can drive a revenue increase of between 7 and 10 per cent.

Sensor or machine data, social, and network data are being blended with behavioural data to further improve accuracy of product recommendations.

Newer strategies such as embedding intelligence into category pages, landing pages, and even the results of a site search can be tuned to each individual shopper, ensuring that the first products a shopper views are the most relevant, the report said.

“Within the site experience, retailers are benefiting from the use of personalisation, with multiple retailers reporting that the use of predictive intelligence on a product detail page is boosting average order values and overall revenue per visitor by double digits,” the authors write.

Mobile: The digital compass

The report also recommends retailers pay close attention to consumer behaviour and restructure their business away from traditional, siloed roles and towards diverse, cross-functional teams built around customer journeys.

According to the report, stores remain the preferred channel globally, with 58 per cent of shoppers saying they prefer the in-store experience. However 60 per cent of all shoppers start their hunt for products in digital and smartphones are tying together the entire shopping journey.

“Mobile is the shopping companion, expanding the core engagement, pre-, during, and post-purchase,” the report states. “Our data shows that 59 per cent of global shoppers have used their mobile phone in the store in the past 30 days, 52 per cent of all e-commerce traffic globally is from mobile devices.”

“The fundamental behaviour we are seeing is that customers are using their phones as their de facto, primary shopping devices. And increasingly, mobile serves as the digital compass for the browser – telling customers where to go, and guiding them once they arrive.”

As traffic continues to migrate from desktop to mobile, the conversion gap is closing between the two devices.

Mobile design, page loading speed and mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay are helping lift mobile conversions. For example mobile payments are used to shorten the time to checkout, placing a ‘buy’ button on a product page eliminates the need to start a shopping basket and work through the typical checkout process.

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