Walmart’s problem isn’t Amazon — it’s a lack of interest in who its customers are

January 28, 2018 | Gerry Mezzina

Walmart’s problem isn’t Amazon — it’s a lack of interest in who its customers are

I read this article on VentureBeat recently, written by Zuora founder Tien Tzuo (full link below). The below statement really grabbed my attention, as the arrival of Amazon in Australia is often raised with our clients.

“Amazon is beating Walmart because it knows its customers. That’s the reason. Plain and simple. So does this mean e-commerce is bound for glory, and retail is doomed to failure? Will it be all retail apocalypse and zombie malls from here on out? Of course not.”

Amazon is a threat to retail because of the data and information it has been collecting and using since its inception in the 90s. Knowing as much about your customers as you can helps drive more informed decisions for your customers and your business, and it’s an area I think shopping centres have had difficulty in. There’s many reasons for this, with most retailers providing overall sales data, traffic counters tracking ‘people’, and wi-fi capturing mac-addresses and showing maps of traffic and average dwell times. While the data is a great start, it’s rare that you can track where specific customers entered, where they spent money, and what they engaged with the most during thier visit. 

In his article, Tien, continues to say:

“To succeed in retail today you need to start with the CUSTOMER, not the product”.

In a shopping centre context, we need to consider our two customers – our patrons and also our retailers. The better we can understand individual customer needs, the more we can assist and influence our tenants and tenancy mix, ensuring that the right customers are providing the right products and services for our specific customers. 

Each centre will need to find their niche, identify key customers, and adapt its marketing and offering to support customer needs.

To do this, you will need specific customer data – spending habits, frequency, biographical information, and behaviour in the centre. And the best way to obtain this data is to provide compelling reasons for your customers to ‘opt-in’, and incentive the behaviour you wish to reinforce. Combining a great digital experience, matched with a great physical one will put your centre at the best chance of long term success.

Helpful Resources

Tien Tzuo’s full article can be read here: Walmarts problem isn’t Amazon – it’s a lack of interest in who it’s customers are.

 

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