To many retailers today, Amazon.com seems unstoppable. The website that ate retail has overtaken a fellow titan, Wal-Mart, as the second-largest seller of consumer electronics, and it has category No. 1 Best Buy in its sights.
As retail witnesses the shuttering of former retail heavyweights, including Sports Authority and Sports Chalet, and the slimming of long-term players, including Macy's, Walgreens, and the Gap, smaller retailers are often left wondering whether there is, in fact, a path to success when you don't have millions to spend on marketing.
Here's the key: An underdog doesn't win by beating a giant at its own game, but by outwitting, outmaneuvering, and out-strategizing it.
Offering hope to retail are the stories of nimble retailers, including Ulta, TJ Maxx, and H&M, which are continuing to grow and open new stores year after year. Those successes prove that although midmarket retailers might not be able to compete with Amazon on price or inventory, they can compete—and win—by harnessing the power of their data and getting creative.
Here are five ways midmarket retail can stay nimble in the face of the Amazon giant:
1. Clean up customer data
Data is the lifeblood of retail, and it's more plentiful and valuable now than it has ever been. But retailers often have multiple siloed databases hindering their ability to create, then benefit from, a complete picture of their audience.
With a staggering 88% of companies reporting that bad data has affected their bottom line—to the tune of roughly 12% of their revenue—the importance of clean data should not be underestimated.
Take the first step (it's free).
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