“The retail industry is all about people,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, Global General Manager, Consumer Industries,
SAP, as she kicked off the National Retail Federation Expo 2016 in New York City. “And it’s one of the many reasons I love what I do.”
A common trend found across the entire expo was how retailers will continue to enhance the customer experience in the digital economy. Digital has completely taken over the business world and is transforming how the retail industry interacts with its consumers – and vice versa. And, let’s face it: to survive you must adapt to today’s digitally-savvy world. So, the question isn’t whether or not your retail business will adapt to digital. The real question is what steps have you taken in your journey to become digital at the core – the heart and soul – of your business?
Executing on digital insights
Michelle Buck, President of North America at The Hershey Company shared the steps Hershey is taking to overcome its challenges with her business, including digital transformation. “First and foremost, you must embrace change,” said Michelle.
Hershey has created a Center of Excellence dedicated to collecting and analyzing its consumers’ insights and putting them into action to “Bring Goodness to the World.” The data not only impacts how Hershey runs its own business, but it’s also sharing those insights with its retail partners to enhance the end-consumer experience.
“We are constantly testing and learning,” said Michelle. “Partnering with our retailers in this digital journey will help us unlock consumer behavior and give our customers what they desire.”
Doug Freud, SAP Data Scientist, agreed with Hershey’s approach to putting a clear focus on consumer insights and data analytics. He did warn, however, not to run out and hire just anyone to take on this data challenge – it’s critical that your business “get this right” in today’s digital economy. “You’re biggest concern should be who the analytics consumer is,” said Doug. “And that consumer should be your operational team.”
Michelle also addressed solutions to Hershey’s challenges and referred to them as a “knowledge journey.” Her team will focus on the evolution of its portfolio, marketing and retail to overcome the headwinds. “We’re still in the early stages of our journey, but believe the partnership we have with our retailers and our focus on insights – the heart of our company – we will continue to drive business forward.”
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