5 Characteristics of the Retail Martech Stack of the Future

By Sharon Shapiro

We’re in an era of retail that is shopper-first and experience-driven. Scalable solutions and strategies that capitalize on first-party data and respond in real time to meet each shopper where they are will be key to staying competitive in this retail landscape — particularly as shoppers move fluidly across digital and physical channels. Achieving those goals requires the right retail marketing technology.

But what exactly does the “right” technology look like? The retail marketing technology stack of the future is a set of solutions that will allow retailers to intelligently, efficiently and scalably achieve key outcomes, like increasing customer loyalty and ultimately driving revenue 

While the available options are vast, these five characteristics should be at the core of every  retail martech stack.

1) Digitally Driven and Cloud-Based 

As shoppers move fluidly from stores to social platforms and their inboxes, your technology stack must be equipped to meet the shopper wherever they are. This means that you need to be equipped with a solution that connects channels.

Many retailers are already moving to a cloud-based infrastructure, like Google Cloud, that provides the flexibility and scalability needed to meet the needs of growing cross-channel experiences. 

2) Highly Agile

Agility is essential to success in the ultra competitive and disruptive retail space. The ability to quickly pivot the business to respond to unexpected events — whether that’s a major shock to the system like COVID-19 or a smaller event like newly trending products — will separate the winners going forward. This makes agile processes that empower marketing users to take action quickly a critical characteristic of any modern retail technology. Not only does this agility give your brand the flexibility to respond to each shopper’s actions and signal in real time, but it saves your team critical time that could be spent more creatively and usefully.

3) Personalized  

For an omnichannel experience that drives revenue and remains competitive, retailers need to connect every touchpoint and optimize their tech stacks. Consumers now expect highly personalized and seamless digital shopping experiences as they move across channels. This expectation has resulted in the demise of channel-based marketing in favor of shopper-first  marketing that creates unique experiences for individual shoppers, regardless of where they are — as opposed to designing experiences around channels.

Meeting this imperative requires technology that stitches together three key types of retail data (customer, behavior and product data) across the full customer lifecycle — from discovery to purchase — so that it’s manageable, accessible and actionable from a single place. You either need a highly extensible system that integrates all your other technologies to make this centralization of data possible — or you need a single system that can house those types of retail data. 

4) Built for Retention 

Loyalty is actually a retailer’s best acquisition tool. Prioritizing customer retention and loyalty can help grow bottom-line revenue, increase market share and create raving fans that make acquiring new customers less expensive.

To achieve this goal, your team must use technology that’s built for retention, meaning solutions that help develop a deep understanding of your customers through first-party data. Your marketing team can then use that information to better engage shoppers, all with the intent of building relationships and driving continued repeat purchases (rather than just looking at each purchase as a single transaction). 

5) Driven by Data Accessibility and Activation

Real-time access to data and the ability to act on that data in an intelligent, automated way is replacing manual segmentation. Data segmentation works when you have a large dataset about something that happened in the past, but it doesn’t help predict things like trending products or shopper behaviors so that you can respond to them in moments of need.

In contrast, having easy access to actionable data allows retail marketing teams to create more timely and valuable experiences based on customer and product needs. This type of accessibility helps achieve goals like sell through without retailers having to resort to discounts. It does so by providing the ability to (a) better predict inventory needs and (b) move that inventory through timely, value-based marketing.

Unlocking the power of siloed data gives retailers the ability to bring each shopper to their next best action — in the moment. With a consolidated tech stack, you won’t waste important data insights or follow misleading ones down a rabbit hole.

Build Your Retail Martech Stack of the Future

Beyond these five characteristics, what else do you need to keep in mind as you build your martech stack for the future of retail? Download The Retail Marketing Tech Stack Guide — a comprehensive guide from Bluecore, Google Cloud and True Fit on how to optimize your technology for digital-first commerce — to find out everything you need to know.

Sharon Shapiro

Sharon leads Bluecore's content marketing program, collaborating with top retailers and strategists to highlight the latest trends in retail marketing, spotlight industry leaders and share advice on how marketers can stay ahead of the curve. An experienced story teller, she has spent her career building content marketing programs for B2B SaaS companies. Sharon has had works featured in MarketingProfs and Content Science Review..