"Data is the backbone of retail" - the words of Google's President of Global Partnerships, Daniel Alegre, at Shoptalk 2018. This applies to grocery as much as it applies to other retail sectors. Grocery retailers have used loyalty card data for many years to inform personalised marketing and special offer decisions. In this digital age, retailers have access to more data than they most likely know what to do with. Daniel Alegre is correct - data is the backbone of retail - but he also noted that while 90% of the world's data was created in the last 2 years, only 1% of the world's data is being analysed. If online chatter from Shoptalk is to be believed, retailers are aware of the importance of properly analysed data and are in the process of leveraging that data to optimise the user experience.
With great data analysis comes great personalisation, and personalisation was unsurprisingly a hot topic at Shoptalk 2018. Rather than paying lip service to the idea of hyper-personalisation, retailers are beginning to see the real purpose of this strategy. When implemented correctly, personalisation based on sound behavioural data has the power to offer convenience and improve the customer experience. If your behavioural data indicates that a customer logs on to shop for groceries on Thursday morning, and usually chooses the ingredients necessary to cook a Sunday roast, or browses Friday night fakeaway recipes, it makes sense to personalise the user journey by suggesting relevant special offers or recipes on log-in. Retailers should pay particular attention to search terms used by consumers:
Data from search terms is one of the major benefits of another of the big themes at Shoptalk 2018 - voice commerce. Like text-based search, voice search enables customers to express their intent. However, voice search terms differ from text-based search terms in one major way - they're hyper-specific. Rather than 'chicken recipes', a search term someone might type into the search bar on a retailers website, voice search is much more conversational. 'Hey Google, find me a chicken casserole recipe that serves 4 people.' These more specific search queries offer retailers enhanced opportunities to target consumers through long-tail keywords, and since voice search was big on the agenda at Shoptalk, and 50% of all searches will be voice search by 2020, it's clear that retailers are in the planning stages of embracing this new technology.
One of the most interesting takeaways from Shoptalk came from Emily Weiss, CEO of beauty brand Glossier. According to Weiss, social sharing is one of the biggest drivers of growth at Glossier. She also spoke about why this is this case, stating that beauty is "an experience and people are obsessed with sharing experiences." There are parallels here between beauty and food. Food is also an experience that people want to share with others - one only needs to look at Instagram as proof. Engaging, shareable recipe content that encourages customers to try it out and share the results on social media is a powerful marketing tool. Of course, the landing page needs to be optimised for sales if this strategy is to work. Recipes should be shoppable, and since 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text on a page (according to Martin Barthel, Global Head of Retail & eCommerce Strategy at Facebook) If retailers are going to implement just one strategy from Shoptalk, social sharing is the place to start.