As revealed by several reports in the last few months, everyone starting from e-commerce and brick-and-mortar chain to independent, startup, and legacy retailers face a new crisis in the wake of the global pandemic that is information deficit. For the uninitiated, data deficiency is the term ascribed to the bridge that comes into being when data and intelligence produced by customer transactions become incredibly low. Needless to say that if this issue continues to persist, it can dismantle the significant pillars of both large and small-scale businesses in the longer-term because the latter will not have substantial grounds to predict and interpret the patterns of customer behavior.

Perils and prospects of information deficit

As a global investment strategist who is familiar with all the retail market’s intricacies, I can say it for a fact that specific changes in the companies’ preexisting approaches face the heat and take them a long way. First things first, businesses must realize that the inventory of data they depended on for so long has lost its credibility and cannot be fed into the automated pattern-tracking systems anymore. Although the predictive models haven’t changed, the preferences of the users indeed have.

Secondly, to combat the present scenario’s challenges, companies must realize those shortsighted decisions on human resources and data infrastructure will not take them anywhere. Condensing the workforce might help in surging the profit margins for the time being, but, in the long run, the idea of dropping people who are closely acquainted with the company can backfire.

Nevertheless, the silver lining is that companies that were not being able to be a part of the data-mature companies before the pandemic started can use this as an opportunity to catch up. The former is struggling with the same glitch. This struggle can be viewed as the only chance for the less data-matured companies to probe into their operations and improve their data gathering and decision-making capabilities. Other than this, companies should remember that customer data is not wholly confined to point-of-sale transactions regardless of their level of proficiency. Any information about customer behavior that is ethically collected should be viewed as data, and retailers must get creative about how and when to manage these shreds of information.

Solutions to combat with the information deficit problem

  • Use this time mindfully to create new channels of communication so that you can enhance brand credibility and earn the trust and respect of your customers. At the same time, you are unable to gather revenue. Make efforts to learn which of your products are the consumers inclined towards, messages that create the most considerable impact, and their thoughts about socially distant shopping.
  • If your company’s stores are in different states, analyze the current situation there, and discover which out of those should reopen as per the ongoing regulations. Naturally, you cannot expect all of them to farewell. Those areas, in particular, should be taken into account along with imperative inputs such as human mobility, demographics, and store performance.
  • Even if your sales are not hitting their predetermined targets, several data sources summarize customer behavior indicators. By capitalizing on these, you can start forming new purchasing, investment, and preferences pattern. For example, browse through the records of e-mail and social media interactions, website sessions, and customer-care call logs to pull out those vital bits that you have missed out in the past. Also, compare customer behavior patterns 10, 12 years back with the recent developments to get your hands on the fluctuations that led to this.