Commercial Business

Successful Retailers Find Location Intelligence is Critical to their Business

2020 was a boom-and-bust year for retailers. While some companies and some segments have struggled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen retailers who have reported outstanding results, posting some of the best quarterly earnings results in their histories.

Retail Systems Research (RSR) is a leading voice in retail technology. Their methodology examines capabilities and technology adoption in retail, comparing high performing retailers with their less successful peers to understand the correlation between success and the adoption of capabilities and technology. For the past three years, RSR has conducted research on location intelligence and the use of location technology to support retailers.

This year, against the backdrop of the global pandemic, they’ve seen a dramatic shift in how winning retailers perceive and value precise location intelligence. The gap between “winners” and “other” has grown significantly.

What is clear in the research; the ability to consume and asses’ operations at a hyper-local level is critical. From the ability to assess the health and welfare of their teams and the communities where they operate to understanding how their customers engagement and buying patterns are changing it is critically important to the winner’s group in the study. For retailers in the “others” category, it’s less so, by significant margins.

Esri RSR Research 2020
[Report] Business Continuity And Recovery In The Age Of COVID-19; The Role Of Location Intelligence

For example, 89% of successful retailers view the ability to assess and stabilize remote operations at a local level as “very important” to their success. Only 65% of retailers who are struggling had the same view.

Looking at how retailers are using location intelligence to inform their execution:

The data is clear, location intelligence is a critical component of success for retailers. Included in this report is data about specific sectors in retail and identifies areas of opportunity for both winners and others.

In its conclusion the RSR Report makes several important recommendations-

RSR primarily reports on the retail industry, the information in this report can apply to any business that is consumer facing. The changes in markets brought by the pandemic will continue to impact business in 2021. In turn, the changes businesses make to their operations to be nimble and able respond to disruptions will serve them well long after this event is over.

About the author

I am a 45 year veteran of the retail industry. My career started in the back room of my father’s shoe store. His advice to me when I went to college, “Don’t go into retail”. After 27 years in executive leadership at Target, I now work for Esri. Here, I get to survey the retail industry holistically. I evangelize location intelligence and help retailers unlock the local insights the need to better engage customers, preform local market analysis and make key decision about store and facility optimization. Everything in retail happens in a specific place for a reason. Location intelligence can help you understand that reason.

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