Shopping habits are rapidly changing. There's a massive shift from the high street to online shopping so now is the time for the retailers to really get their finger on the pulse of their business.
As a Business Intelligence Consultant, I’m talking to customers from every conceivable part of industry but more than ever I’m amazed as to the number of retail organisations that I speak to that still don’t have any formal reporting tools in place.
BI in Retail should be able to deliver the ability to access information affecting the entire retail business, often as the data is created, but recent statistics back up the conversations I’m having with the retail sector in that only :
50% of retail businesses have formal BI solutions in place, 70% of SMB Retail still use spread sheets as their primary source of analytics over more functional BI tools , such as SAP Crystal Reports, and amazingly nearly 25% of the retail shops on your high street today are still using spread sheets as their only analytical tool! *
Retailers need to use BI in order to predict shopping behaviour and good BI should be able to deliver this information and be able to measure its impact directly to management, store staff and regional staff alike, at the right time in order to be able to maximise sales.
By including customer product and performance data in their BI program every retailer can learn who their customers are, what they want today, tomorrow and in a month's time. Improving data access to customer facing staff should be a key strategy for every retailer and this is impossible with manual speadsheets.
Slow and inaccurate BI will lead to out of stock scenarios, customer satisfaction issues, promotional delays and lost sales opportunities.
Good BI in retail impacts on the seasonal swing nature of the business by offering accurate and well planned marketing plans that everyone knows about, well timed store events and correct staffing levels.
Larger retailers who have embraced BI are outstripping smaller vendors as they are able to predict purchasing behaviour, but with SAP Crystal Solutions entry level BI Essentials package it doesn’t have to be BI only for the “Big Guys”.
Written by: Sue Mitchell, DSCallards Ltd
*Source: The Opportunity for Business Intelligence Enhancements in Retail - October 2011- Aberdeen Group