From market spend insights to mobility metrics, Experian examines five areas where retailers can use data to unlock further growth

In today’s competitive landscape, the winning retailers are those who are masters of customer understanding and engaging consumers with the right content at the right time.

First-party data will always be a positive, but relying solely on what is happening within your own space creates blind spots.

Delving into external data sources paints a fuller, more comprehensive picture of consumer behaviours and preferences, which in turn provides insights to give you the edge.

As the retail landscape shifts, new sources of market insight are emerging that provide compelling business benefits and power retailers’ abilities to personalise, innovate and truly connect with customers.

Here are five areas retailers should start tapping into.

1. A purchase does not equal the person

Purchase history is valuable, but it is only ever part of the story. Analysing purchase patterns alone can paint a limited view, missing who your customers are and what they want.

Embracing a wider lens – combining research, demographics, life stage, lifestyles and behaviours – bridges this data gap to create true understanding and more opportunities to engage effectively.

With this understanding, you can develop more targeted messaging and recommendations based on a broader view of what consumers want, not just their transactions.

2. Leverage real market spend insights

Brand trackers tell you what your customers think or what they recall doing, but market spend insights tell you what they do. The basket never lies, and it never forgets.

Tapping into real consumer spending data linked to your customer segments and that of your competitors tells an irrefutable story. No guesswork, no research bias, just real data telling you what is happening in your market.

Benchmark your own performance as well as your competitors. Discover where you’re winning but also which emerging brands are stealing your customers, so you can react fast with targeted promotions.

Understand how consumers spend in specific shopping centres; trends on how this shifts over time will provide far more robust estate investment decisions.

3. Unlock mobility insights for physical retail

The way people shop and spend leisure time continues to shift at pace and stores need to adapt. Today’s shoppers demand relevance and traditional footfall metrics cannot tell the whole story.

The answer lies in mobility data – imagine knowing not just how many people visit your store, but their demographic mix, where they come from, where else they went and how they compare to the wider audience walking down the street.

The success of a store hinges on understanding and reacting to the people engaging with them.

4. Build a customer growth engine

Acquiring high-value new customers is an ongoing challenge for retailers. So, knowing what your best next customers look like, how many exist and where to find them is a must.

Armed with well-defined audiences, you can now easily locate and target via platforms like social media, programmatic display, and connected TV. And all without needing to rely on third-party cookies and their ever-diminishing shelf life.

Incorporating mobility data, transactional data linked to demographics also provides a solid foundation for making informed decisions about digital out-of-home advertising purchases, ensuring that marketing efforts are not just scaled but strategically targeted.

5. Make commerce media work for you

You’ve got data, you’ve got content, you’ve got traffic and you have a destination. With these assets, you can create a commerce media offering and generate a whole new range of revenues and benefits.

While previously dominated by the likes of large retailers such as Boots, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, there is a movement of smaller players joining the market – think Co-op, Deliveroo and Trainline among others.

Commerce offerings provide the opportunity to cultivate deeper customer relationships, delivering more engaging content and value when interacting with your brand.

The leaders in this space will leverage broad offline insights from CRM and loyalty schemes alongside online user behaviour. Through partnerships, they’ll deepen audience understanding, organise and enrich their own 1st party data, and broaden advertiser access to their audience beyond their own sites.

Today’s retail landscape demands bold moves outside your own environment. Embracing traditional and emerging external data and enablement capabilities is key to success.

Looking to do more? Here is our advice:

  • Chart your course – define key business goals and where you can improve.
  • Be curious – identify gaps in your current audience, competitor insights and activation strategies.
  • Seek out support – look for partners with a mix of traditional and new, valuable data sources, activation tools and industry insights.
  • Combine your internal knowledge with a broader perspective to unlock greater value.

To watch Experian’s recent marketing insights webinar, click here.

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