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Today, consumers expect more. They expect personalisation and they also expect a seamless experience across channels, from clicks to bricks (online and bricks and mortar stores). If consumers can’t easily make a purchase, they’ll go somewhere else. Making sense of it all and overcoming the challenges to offer the right product, in the right place, at the right time, for the right price is the holy grail that all retailers want to answer. Unlocking the power of retail analytics can solve these problems for retailers.
Retail is a constantly changing environment. Where inventive digital marketing – along with highly informed customers – are driving unprecedented product innovation. Options from same day delivery to collect curbside pick-up, to buy online pick up in store (POPIS) are shaping consumer expectations.
Retail businesses also have to tackle the squeeze on margins, increasing operational costs, along with staffing challenges. That’s why one of the keys to achieving retail success and achieve competitive advantage is to be more data-centric. Deriving actionable insights from data and making smarter decisions that achieve enhanced customer satisfaction, sustainable growth, profitability and competitive advantage.
Although the collection of raw data is generally integrated into the day-to-day operations, the challenge is how to make sense of the wealth of data generated from disparate data sources. And how to do this in a timely manner. How to drive insights and sharper decision making across the entire supply chain and buyer journey where the magic and skill happens. What’s needed is a new mindset.
What is the right blend and assortment of products to be displayed on the limited shelf space, within different store profiles (bricks) and how does that match with supply chain complexity? Maximising return on investment (ROI) is the goal.
The real power comes from unlocking retail analytics in order to understand and predict demand and drive data-centric decisions on what categories are needed, when and in which location. Historically this was a category manager’s role, to look back on historical and seasonal trends, in order to predict forward. Today it’s harder to predict the future, based on past data, which is why the speed of data and analytics operations is so crucial for the sector, as highlighted by the National Retail Federation.
According to shopify, nearly 50% of brands say unifying online and instore operations and data will be their biggest challenge. Understanding the attributes, brands and categories that are meaningful to customers is the goal. Layering this with new product development, forecasting demand, product life cycle, supply chain management and category profitability is an unenviable task.
FMCG and retailers have all the tools they need: data. Connecting disparate data sources, to interrogate at a granular level will drive more effective category management decisions for retailers and brands. With the right protocols in place, retailers can more consistently deliver on consumer demand and that will directly impact operational efficiencies, margins and profitability.
There’s no doubt that retail insights are invaluable in helping predict and plan. The real power of retail analytics comes from building analytical capabilities. New models and insights are tested every day. Where analytics and insights are accessible and made understandable for a wider group of users, retailers can build measurable competitive advantage. Making data-centric decisions, that directly relate back to customers is an essential part of business operations. A holistic approach to analytics capabilities and empowering a data-driven, organisation wide mindset is where retailers will make the most gains, and be more nimble in facing an unpredictable future.