Whether you're the market leader or a local startup, The Brand Show offers ideas and insights to help you grow your retail brand. Through expert articles and thought-leader interviews, we look at the brands, trends and shopper marketing strategies that shape our retail world.
On the road again with The Brand Show! Over the next three days The Brand Show will hit highlights, trends and insights straight from keynotes and premier brand attendees of The National Retail Federation’s Innovate 2011 conference in San Francisco.
Kickin’ off Innovate 2011: Kevin Kelly, a true visionary of contemporary culture.
The most compelling piece of Kelly’s talk was on the role of data in our lives and business…and the opportunity for both shoppers and retailers to harness the power of data, both for life and business.
In Kelly’s view, we live in a flow of data that we can use to our benefit or ignore, possibly, to our detriment. Right now, your data can be leveraged in real time so you can live a richer, fuller live. You can monitor the balances of your checking and saving accounts, 401Ks and Roth IRAs. You can measure your weight, muscle mass and body fat percentage on a scale in your bathroom. You can monitor your heart rate, speed, cadence, power output, distance, burned calories and elevation on a bike ride or a run. If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, you can measure your blood sugar level manually or automatically, minute-by-minute to determine whether you need an insulin injection. If you have children in school, you can monitor their grades—everything from major tests to daily homework. You can check out the stock market as easily as you monitor the weather. Every day, you watch your car’s speed, RPMs, engine temperature, oil level and windshield wiper fluid level. And you can do this while following directions on your dash-mounted GPS-enabled device. And that’s just scratching the surface.
In response to this intersection of life, business, data, technology and measurement, Kelly has created the “Quantified Self,” a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking. The ultimate objective of this user group is to help people use data to live more fulfilling and happier lives through understanding their physical makeup and surroundings. And there is something for businesses to learn from here.
Like Shopper, Like Brand
So what should the retail business response be to the overflow of data and movements like the Quantified Self? The interesting thing is that shoppers may likely have and use more data to inform their decisions than retail brands do.
Ask yourself how many brand managers you know who have and use analytics dashboards on a daily basis? Do these dashboards track inventory, distribution, pricing, velocity, market share, advertising effectiveness and sales on a single site or, better yet, a single screen? It’s surprising that many retail brands, even successful ones, don’t utilize data and information as well as many of their shoppers do in their day-to-day lives.
Two Big Benefits: Enrichment and Profit
Retail brands have the opportunity to follow the shopper by leveraging data for more effective, efficient and meaningful experiences in two ways.
First, the effective use of data by reatilers can enrich the lives of shoppers. It can make the searching experience easier, more trusted and efficient. It can allow the shopping experience to be faster, simpler and more interesting. It can provide qualified recommendations based on everything from past purchases (which is currently being done) to factors such as proximity, day or week, time of day, as well as special events and mood. Shopping can be more than transactional; it can, and should be, enriching.
The second benefit data can have for retail brands is that it can be productized and monetized for profit and engagement. In the Quantified Self site, Kelly has assembled a collection of 170 products and services that allow for shopper to monitor their data and make subtle or dramatic shifts in their daily lives. Of course, 170 solutions is the very tip of the iceberg. There are more solutions out there, and there are even more waiting to be developed.
According to Kelly, the real data-driven opportunity for retail brands is to harness their information and productize solutions that enrich the lives of shoppers.
- I.V. Whitman, contributor for The Brand Show and brand strategist at Two West, Inc.