I don’t usually comment on press releases from software vendors. However, JDA’s April 26th press release made me pause to consider the path I’ve traveled with Symphony EYC and Symphony GOLD (combined under Symphony Retail Solutions) over the last 5 years.
In their release, JDA mentions “a first-of-its-kind one-stop insight and execution capability.” As has long been said, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then JDA and dunnhumby just gave us a massive compliment. Symphony Retail Solutions has been leading the one-stop insight to execution charge for almost five years now.
Customer insights to execution
In 2012, we made a bold leap. We recognized the critical need in the marketplace to take customer insights that were being delivered and put them to actual use—for decision planning and execution. We saw the shortfalls of delivering reports to analysts and leaving it to them to decipher what the reports meant in terms of making critical decisions regarding key roles inside a retailer or a CPG. And, back then, we understood that to address the major gap as we saw it, we needed a much deeper investment than a casual partnership between firms that have distinct roadmaps. This is precisely why we brought Symphony EYC and Symphony GOLD (then Aldata) together under the Symphony Technology Group. We knew this merging of customer insights to execution was key back then, but today, you’re simply shooting in the dark without it.
But just why are customer insights so critical these days? We all know that any business that wants to be competitive must fully embrace today’s customer revolution (enabled by technology). Simply put, customers now have a comparative product view; they can easily examine your offerings against your competitor’s and find the best value in minutes. They can do this while they’re in your store! Smart organizations understand that customers want the next level of service. That is, knowing them as an individual – personally. To get to this level of understanding and to truly personalize the customer journey, you must have actual customer insights.
At Symphony Retail Solutions, we’ve graduated from just understanding purchase behavior. We now have a 360-degree view of the customer. This helps us:
- Move away from transactional loyalty—the way we used to think about customers, but that we now know doesn’t make customers “sticky” to a retailer
- Understand emotional loyalty, what drives a customer to shop a particular brand
- Inform retailers how to make their customers net promoters of the retailer, not just good shoppers
All of this comes from fusing different kinds of attitudinal and behavioral data, to get us where we need to be with regards to a true understanding of the customer.
Our solutions are not afterthoughts
To give an example, over the last few years, we have made a major investment in building – from the ground up – completely new customer-centric assortment and space planning solutions. We took customer metrics that were necessary to localize assortments and the process for how assortments were selected based on customer behavior at the store level. This wasn’t something we added as an afterthought. It was built into the solution at the design level. You can’t easily add data into a solution that wasn’t designed for it.
Or let me mention our Personalized Marketing offering. It has very deep algorithms and customer insights embedded that ensure that retailers are allocating the right offer to the right customer at the right time, all based on their personal shopping behavior. So, it’s with great pride that I say that, sure, there are many industry-agnostic CRM tools in the marketplace, but no one has built in the same intelligence as we have specific to retail.
If you’re a category manager, your decisions are far from trivial
Category managers have a lot resting on their shoulders. If you take a moment to consider decisions around pricing and promotion, for example, just small misinterpretations of data can lead to a lot of pain. The orchestration of pricing and promotion is not trivial. Knowing this intimately, we’ve embedded customer insights and behavior into price and item selection. This has taken a massive amount of investment by our team, and these functions and more are all available as a suite of solutions on Symphony Retail Cloud.
A true, one-stop solution for customer insights to execution
Symphony Retail Solutions has been leading the charge for years in the customer insights to execution revolution. Because of our head start, we continue to innovate in this space well ahead of our competition. As I mentioned up top, when we brought Symphony EYC and Symphony GOLD (then Aldata) into the STG fold back in 2012, we created a first-of-its-kind, and first-to-market offering. That power came from the combined strength of two organizations focused completely on helping retailers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers transform their performance. We gladly accept the compliment and validation from JDA and dunnhumby and we’re happy to see that these organizations are coming around to see the needs of today’s ever-evolving marketplace. We’ve been deeply entrenched in solving these issues and contributing to our customers’ success for years and will continue to do using ground-breaking, next-generation technologies. But I’ll leave that for another blog.
Read part two of this series – Customer-centric retail: deep analytics & deep insights for execution.