Today, retailers spend an excessive amount of time and money collecting, analyzing and trying to utilize customer data by turning it into information and knowledge that is actionable.
Loyalty programs have allowed retailers to collect and analyze vast quantities of data on purchases by individuals. E-retailing has added to the avalanche of data.
While this information is essential to understanding changing customer needs and expectations, it’s important that the systems you use to gather this information are efficient and cost-effective.
Retailers can give themselves a pat on the back this week. According to a recent report from Deloitte, the Canadian retail sector has become the “illuminating bright spot, and the most significant contributor to narrowing the gap in productivity growth [in Canada] since 2000.”
The numbers tell the story. Overall productivity in Canada rose at an average 0.8 per cent between 2000 and 2010 compared to 2 per cent for the U.S. In the retail sector, on the other hand, productivity saw gains of 3.4 per cent compared to the U.S.’s 1.3 per cent between 2000 and 2008.
Fierce competition has forced retailers to innovate, Financial Post notes. And when companies that aren’t as productive leave the market, there is always another one with higher productivity ready to take their place.
The number of U.S. retailers jumped by 28 percentage points between 1985 and 2002, forcing Canadian companies to invest in technology, improve their supply chain and training programs, revamp their stores and adopt global best practices.
By comparison, productivity in the country’s manufacturing sector grew by 2.3 per cent, compared to 3.3 per cent in the U.S. between 1990 and 2009.