Data collection a top challenge for retail marketers

Data collection and analyzation are among the top challenges for retail marketers today, further proving that IT functions are playing larger roles within retail organizations.

A new report from SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) conducted with University of Arizona students, underscores that digital and social trends as key factors driving the evolution of retail marketing. The report was release last week at the University of Arizona Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing's Global Retailing Conference.

Survey participants said social media and digital, customer data and brand awareness are their top three marketing challenges. And while 100 percent of respondents cited digital advertising among the most important marketing tools for their organization, nearly half the participants said there is need for improvement in their companies' digital and social "listening" strategies, as well as in how they use customer data to improve marketing efforts.

"The survey sheds light on some important trends that are driving changes in marketing, namely the importance of accurate, timely, holistic grasp of customer data, the continuing importance of brand awareness and shopper experience, and customer communications shifting to social and digital channels," said Greg Giraud, program director, merchandising and marketing strategies and retail analytics, IDC Retail Insights. "These in turn are driving the importance of marketing technology."

"While retailers are aware of the increasingly critical role of digital and social channels in marketing, they clearly perceive the gap in their ability to effectively leverage these trends," said Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior vice president, global industry business unit for retail, SAP. "Having access to the right digital, social and analytics tools to communicate with, listen to and understand customers in real time enables retailers to make more informed and impactful marketing decisions."

The focus on omnichannel is demanding more of IT, requiring a consolidated, accurate view of real-time inventory across stores and distribution centers. According to a recent survey from Accenture and hybris software, an SAP company, 40 percent of retailers report they are having difficulty integrating back-office technology across all of their channels.

It is becoming increasingly clear that IT functions are critical in not just sustaining a retail enterprise, but in powering the myriad of marketing, merchandising and advertising programs that feed a successful omnichannel strategy.

For more:
-See this SAP press release

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