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Top BI Trends in Retail From Shoptalk 2022

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Recently we attended Shoptalk 2022 in Las Vegas. Many exciting things are happening online, IRL, and in the metaverse. Most exciting of all is that business intelligence (BI) is playing a more prominent role in retail than ever before.

Here are the major BI trends retailers should know.

Omnichannel Must Grow Up

Retailers have been talking about omnichannel for a while, but most ecommerce brands are selling through one platform (i.e. Shopify) and using one marketing activation tool (i.e. Klaviyo.)

It’s time to venture outside singular channels to drive growth and explore platforms like TikTok, Instagram, live streaming, and even brick-and-mortar.

Your customer data is at the core of linking up all the touchpoints and achieving an omnichannel presence. A customer data platform (CDP) is the foundation for collecting all the information and using analytics to deliver meaningful customer interactions across channels.

Point solutions are no longer enough for retail brands. You need a data analytics and app dev partner who will help you implement the right technologies to see the big picture.

Customer 360, For Real

Many solutions talk a big game about providing 360-degree customer profiles. Of course, you can get a 360-degree view if you put everything on a single platform, but you’d be locked into that vendor’s ecosystem.

Here’s the kicker…If you can’t use data from other sources to enrich customer profiles, are you getting a true 360-degree view?

Many marketing tools, like CRMs, are point solutions. As much as these tech providers love claiming to be customer data platforms, they are not robust CDPs that connect data from any source or system.

Instead of starting with a software solution, retail brands should work with a partner that helps them build a vendor-agnostic data platform as the foundation to integrate with any data source to create truly 360-degree customer profiles.

Decentralization is the Center of Attention

Brands can no longer ignore the influences of Web3, NFT, and the metaverse.

Many organizations are jumping into the metaverse just because it’s the next hot thing. But doing so reactively without a plan won’t take you very far—what happens after you get the brand exposure?

Web3 analytics will become the key to unlocking insights into the next generation of consumers who consider Robux more real than the ruble.

Again, there’s no single point solution for capturing all the data and insights in this brave new world. Brands must bring data into their own four walls and connect the dots with advanced analytics to develop insights that will drive innovation and leverage Web3 utilities to get ahead.

Physical Retail Experience Turns Dynamic

Big brands realize the importance of physical retail as part of the omnichannel experience. Customers expect the dynamic interactions they get on websites, such as personalized recommendations, to become part of the in-store experience. For example, when a cashier runs a credit card, they are able to see the customer’s profile and recommend relevant products.

But it’s not the same old retail experience as the pre-ecommerce era. Instead of rows of shelves and a large inventory, the focus is on delivering an interactive experience that becomes part of the omnichannel customer journey.

Data will be the linchpin to creating such a connected shopping experience as real-time insights will help inform meaningful interactions.

Compliance Must Be the Connective Tissue

When you leverage customer data to inform interactions, you must adhere to data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Since you’re collecting data and applying insights via every touchpoint, you can’t achieve compliance with a point solution. Compliance must be implemented as the connective tissue that runs through every customer interaction.

Automation (i.e. data pipeline, data cleansing) is the key to connecting the dots while ensuring data governance and data integrity. Unfortunately, companies are still performing many of these tasks manually, like managing data subject requests (DSRs,) which can lead to errors and delays that result in a disjointed customer experience.

Marketers Need Data Orchestration

Many marketing teams focus on customer acquisition costs, so it’s more important than ever to use data analytics to inform their tactics. There’s so much pressure for marketers to become data experts, and that’s simply not a realistic expectation. Your marketing team needs a data team.

Custom application development that supports data orchestration will be the key to successful data practices. “Headless commerce” is a good example.

Marketers can use the tools they like and customize the customer experience while allowing the analytics team to perform data orchestration at the back end. More companies will adopt this app development approach as their data practices mature.

The Takeaway

The retail industry is waking up to analytics because it’s the only way to stay competitive. Implementing a vendor-agnostic platform that helps you link up all the touchpoints—those you already use and those that don’t yet exist—will be the key to building truly 360-degree customer profiles and delivering a memorable omnichannel brand experience.

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