May 27 2015
We live in a day and age where marketing is king and truth is taboo. On a daily basis we’re exposed to marketing messages that promise a quick-fix solution for virtually any problem, no matter how big or how small. Want to find love? Just go to eHarmony. Looking for the perfect complexion? All you need is Dove. Want to be an NBA all star? Wear Nike shoes.
But cure-all solutions don’t stop there. In the corporate world there’s just as much – if not more – hype over the silver bullet solution to your business woes. Whether you’re looking to increase sales, boost your team’s productivity, or generate more buzz for your company, we’re told that solution X, Y and Z are just right for you. No matter how lofty the goal, there’s usually a handful of SaaS companies claiming that they can help your company move the proverbial needle.
With today’s advances in technology and data accessibility, there’s an increasing number of solution providers that specialize in the esoteric nuances of the technological realm. These solutions are commonly marketed to solve ‘modern day problems for the modern day business’. And for those of us who are responsible for growth and quick results, we’re all easy targets for the coveted silver bullet solution.
But the truth of the matter is that many cutting-edge tech solutions are only helpful for companies that have already mastered the fundamentals. And for many companies, that’s just not the case. From my own experience, I often see decision-makers who are tempted to spend their budgets on a big ticket item that is too advanced for their actual business objectives. Unsurprisingly, business professionals are drawn in by the allure of a shiny new tool that promises results. But as the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
In the retail industry, there are a handful of exciting advancements that are on track to dramatically reshape the future of retail. For instance, with the advent of in-store bluetooth beacons, it is now possible for retailers to send real-time, one-to-one marketing messages to customers via their mobile phones in store. There are also other technologies that can convert a retailer’s security cameras into measurable foot traffic analytics to help retailers optimize their store design for increased customer engagement. There are even solution providers that specialize in crunching millions of lines of loyalty data for retailers to create custom-tailored promotions that calculate a personalized price-point for each customer to maximize the odds of customer action without being ROI negative.
And while these technologies are very valuable for major players in the retail space looking for any possible advantage, there are always companies that make the mistake of adopting an overly-advanced solution without addressing their underlying business fundamentals first. Not only are these fundamentals necessary for long-term success, but they are often the simplest and most cost-effective solutions for an immediate lift in sales and profitability.
For example, many retailers still face the issue of recurring out-of-stocks in their stores. According to industry research, these types of out-of-stock situations can cost a retailer up to 4% in revenue per year. This is a good example of a fundamental business issue that can’t be resolved by one of the SaaS solutions mentioned above. Because at the end of the day, personalized promotions and optimized advertising can’t sell a product that isn’t in stock.
The Silver Bullet Fallacy
For many of Askuity’s customers, executives recognized the need for better business intelligence and analytical insight to help identify optimization opportunities. And as you might expect, this is typically the first step towards business improvement for any company. When faced with the question “How do we increase sales by 5% this quarter?”, it’s important to take a step back and look at what the numbers are telling you first.
With the help of an easy-to-use business intelligence solution, you can find valuable answers that unlock the big ‘fundamental’ wins for your business. Sometimes this can be as simple as identifying the right product assortment for each region, analyzing your best performing promotions, or realizing that your trade marketing efforts increased sales but proved to have a negative ROI. By mastering these types of insights with a retail intelligence solution like Askuity, your business can continue to find growth without overpaying for the ‘silver bullet’ solution that creates more buzz than results.