"Retail Pulse" gleans data monthly from an initial sampling of 50 brands.

Outperforming the competition means getting a pulse on the entire industry, and even looking across sectors for comparative insight.

Pini Yakuel, chief executive officer and founder of Optimove, offered the company’s “cross-industry” benchmarking tool, “Retail Pulse,” released this week, as a solution for brands to gain a competitive edge. Optimove is a customer data platform that offers a “360-degree view of the customer,” for 300 brands globally.

The company aims to make data science a back-pocket tool for both “born online” brands such as Stitch Fix and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers in their relationship marketing strategies.

The free-to-use benchmark aggregates and averages data from an initial baseline of 50 brands monthly to serve as a “guiding rule of thumb” for customer relationship managers, chief marketing officers and “anyone interested in benchmarking their own industry,” according to Yakuel.

Today, many proactive business leaders are striving to make sense of their own data, comparing to overarching industry trends easily with the assistance of benchmarking tools.

If, for example, a retailer has a slow month, she can use the benchmark to assess by what degree and how the rest of the competition fared. No more dredging along silently. As to what value the benchmark creates, Yakuel offered the following: “a trend tells a bigger story than one data point.”

The Retail Pulse leverages two years of data from retail brands across segments, incorporating online and physical sales data, to include: average order value, average monthly discounts, returning customers and returns rate, among other key performance indicators.

And for those companies with an e-commerce presence, comparing its return data across the industry may tell a richer story, then when viewed in isolation. The goal of the benchmark is not to be an end-all solution but to provide decision-makers with industry context, comparative analysis and actionable insight.

In combining insights with Optibot, the company’s built-in marketing optimization bot, the benchmark allows a further view of the customer data and industry norms to compare against.

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