How Tracking Trends Can Help You Stay Ahead

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Industry insights are like gold dust. Tracking trends, or being able to predict the next big shift from your own data, is time and again the unbeaten fast track to a serious competitive advantage.

Harnessing the right customer data can be the key to unlocking this “secret sauce” and for many businesses, all the pieces of the puzzle are already there.

The only problem is, they’re all messed up.

Putting this idea into context, 2020 was a year like no other. Virtually everyone was blindsided but, as ever, some businesses came out on top.

Those organisations that responded best were those that could lean on their analytics which, combined with industry trends, pointed the way to a successful pivot.

Most companies had this knowledge within their reach, they just didn’t know where to look for it.

A Shift In Priorities

For the vast majority of us, the biggest shift in our daily life was the new, government mandated, requirement to work from home.

A study by the Office of National Statistics reported that…

“Of those who did work from home, 86% did so as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

ONS

However, a large proportion of these people had no real warning of this new reality. Because of this, they weren’t adequately prepared.

With trips to the pub and overseas holidays suddenly becoming a pipe dream cast unceremoniously out of the window, attention and investment quickly turned toward home improvements.

“41% of those working from home reported that they didn’t have a proper desk.”

“24% said they were embarrassed by their background on video calls.”

Home Improvements Trends Report

A new and extensive, captive audience was created over night. As the population rushed to accommodate their emerging requirements knowing that suddenly, their kitchens, bedrooms, and even on some accidental occasions their bathrooms, needed to transform into offices.

But this was only the beginning. And this was the key takeaway acknowledged by those businesses that continued to achieve success.

How did they know? They could see it in their numbers.

Tracking Trends In 2021

During lockdown, home improvement became big business. So great was the shift, Santander reported that…

“40% of homeowners brought forward home improvement plans whilst 61% carried out AT LEAST one renovation project.”

Santander

What initially appeared to be a flash in the pan has since gathered momentum and it shouldn’t come as a shock that even in 2021, 38% of people want to improve their working from home setup.

From a KBB perspective, are you accounting for the repurposing of these home spaces? Does your data tell you that we’re seeing a permanent shift to home working and if so, what opportunities does that create?

There is also another side to this coin.

With restrictions lifting, retail and leisure outlets reopening and the prospect of foreign holidays within touching distance, organisations need to account for this re-diversion of disposable income amongst their prospective clients.

Ensuring you’re monitoring the right analytics will allow you to see if and how this change affects sales. If a dip does begin to emerge, it will at the very least highlight a need to double down on process and customer experience to ensure no opportunities are missed and every interaction is optimal.

Whatever the outcome, analysing your own customer data will help you position your offering. There’s no need to guess what your prospects like if the data is at your fingertips!

Using Your Data For Tracking Trends

We’ve used 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic for explanatory purposes here, and for good reason. But the potential lessons learned remain, and can translate into how you use your own customer data in the weeks, months and years to come.

In a recent survey, 57% of UK residents reported a desire to be more eco-friendly in 2021.

Is such a focus reflected in your offering? Are you providing customers with environmentally friendly options or to find the products that align with their values are they forced to shop elsewhere?

Trends, and analysis of them, can help you jump on the latest popular concept before any of your competitors. All you have to do is listen to your customers!

Talk to them about why they are making an enquiry with you in the first place?

Do you know what your most popular product lines are?

And how does this differentiate across different stores?

At it’s very core, tracking trends provides a real advantage in analysing whether or not your offering matches up with consumer expectations.

Time and again businesses either have this information, just dispersed across a multitude of systems. Or if not, can make a simple shift to begin asking the right questions to gather it.

All you need to do now is access it and act on it.


Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.


Jacob Goodwin -

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