Providing experiences will dictate
survival in the market

Opinion article by Nuno Figueiredo, Board Member, Sales & Marketing at Abaco Consulting, for “Distribuição Hoje”:

In analysis, in this Special, the trends that will dictate the success of the retail business models, and that require the adoption of Big Data & Analytics tools to transform traditional businesses into consumer experiences.

“Overcoming daily challenges, without ever taking the focus off of growing the business”. In addition to providing an excellent service and experience to customers, this must be the priority for companies that want to differentiate, argues Nuno Figueiredo, board member of Abaco Consulting. In an increasingly competitive market, “innovating and being able to do things differently are the watchwords for any sector of activity that wants to survive”. With the growing demand of the retail sector “taking advantage of data as a decision-making tool is essential to find solutions and increase the efficiency of the organization”. As Nuno Figueiredo explains, the world of Big Data has been evolving over the last few years, and “we already see machine learning and Artificial Intelligence mechanisms drawing user profiles and making extremely accurate predictions about the behavior of their customers, using casual data resulting from web browsing, for example ”.

In this way, “the correct analysis and interpretation of data provides organizations with a set of valuable insights for the development of their business, with the ability to reduce risks and define their strategy more rigorously”. In addition, “the deeper the understanding of an organization’s data, the greater and more accurate its impact on decisions, which benefits the relationship with the final consumer and internal processes”.

According to the specialist, knowing the habits and tastes of customers, understanding what they think and what they want, knowing their buying and consumption process (when buying, where, what) are key strategies “to focus our offer and go meeting what the customer is looking for ”. And, in fact, “these valuable data are increasingly a key tool that, well crafted, brings us to fundamental information regarding the direction we must follow”.

This objective is only possible “through the adoption of Big Data & Analytics tools, which allow analyzing large volumes of data, at a speed never before imagined, which allows organizations to obtain relevant data for timely management, improving and making decision-making processes are more reliable ”, concludes Nuno Figueiredo. This information is “fundamental for creating personalized offers for customers, or even foreseeing market trends and working on the value proposal to respond to those same needs”, he says.

According to Abaco Consulting’s experience, by being aware of the real needs of their customers, retailers can create a personalized offer and a closer relationship with the customer. Nuno Figueiredo believes that “forecasting consumer trends in advance allows to improve an organization’s entire supply chain, maximizing all aspects of the business” – from reducing stock levels, eliminating the unnecessary, to analyzing and executing various price scenarios in millions or billions of products in various dimensions to support “markdowns”, promotions and regular pricing strategies, he explains.

In the words of the head of Abaco, “the winning companies in the retail battle will be those that better and faster anticipate these new habits, creating experiences and offers that invoke and reinforce them”. But this will only be possible if the customers themselves share their data, otherwise retail companies can only analyze the type of products that are being sold the most.

When more information the client shares, but he will be able to obtain in the future “an experience close and focused on what his tastes are”. And, above all, in the younger generations, “the demand for consumer goods adapted to their reality, their tastes and preferences, in a simple way and without many clicks, is increasingly evident”, notes Nuno Figueiredo.

In the expert’s opinion, “in an emerging and constantly changing world, we must be aware of trends and new solutions that are launched by many companies, namely start-ups”. More and more “out-of-the-box solutions” emerge, which include easy recognition, voice recognition, customization of customized products or simulators. Through partnerships, these solutions “can, in fact, complement Abaco’s services and, at the same time, present themselves as an asset for the business”, he considers.

In this way, “transforming traditional businesses into experiences for the consumer, where he feels connected and has the perception that we are delivering value to him, is the challenge of all companies and, in the end, will be what will dictate his survival in the market ”. On the other hand, cross-selling is a very important strategy in e-commerce, but “for it to be successful, proximity and transparency with the customer must be encouraged”, defends Nuno Figueiredo.

Affirming itself as a business partner, more than a consultant that only sells projects, Abaco defends a relationship of trust with customers, with proximity and identifying their needs in order to provide them with “the products they need”. On the other hand, “it is important that there is a segmentation of who our customer really is, since the approach will only be successful if the offer effectively responds to the interests of the consumer”.

In the perspective of the head of the consultant dedicated to the implementation of health information systems, “data has long been, effectively, the new oil”. But, he says, “the problem is that not all companies have evolved in the same way, and not all of them immediately realized the importance or the added value of the data”. For Nuno Figueiredo, “many times, this happens because they don’t have tools to ‘digest’ and deal with all the information they have”.

In summary, “more and more we need to know how to take advantage of the information we collect about customers and the retail area is no exception”, stresses Nuno Figueiredo. “Retailers that today have the capacity to grow and innovate from customer data are, for sure, those who, in the future, will be able to test new concepts and ideas more quickly”. Consequently, “they will be the ones who will most be able to satisfy the needs of their customers or deliver goods efficiently. And, as such, they will be the most successful ”.

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