For Retailers, analytics tools – I think about reporting and BI applications, “Big Data”, etc. – are vital, priceless, competitive assets that allow answering the following fundamental questions:
- What types of shoppers are visiting my stores?
- What did catch their attention on the shop-floor?
- What did they purchase in-store?
- How many of them are repeat visitors?
- Whom did they engage with? About what?
- …and so on…
Now more than ever, Retail is moving from being a mainly instinct-based industry towards being more data-driven; an example: advanced analysis of SKU performance metrics lets Retailers fine-tune merchandise assortments and promotions on the fly, enhancing inventory throughput and avoiding detrimental markdowns.
To whom is afraid that the “human-factor” risks to be disqualified: I strongly believe analytics tools valuably support and amplify human capabilities, help to work better and to tangibly improve business results.
On one hand, working with huge amounts of data is getting simpler:
- data-collection gets cheaper every day, so data on its own has limited value (retailers have plenty of it)
- analytics tools today are quite accessible, so elaborating data and obtaining information is getting easier, less expensive and less time-consuming
Trouble is, if retailers want to get ACTIONABLE insights from analytics, investing just in TECHNOLOGY is not good enough: they need to invest BOTH in TECHNOLOGY and PEOPLE (…the right PEOPLE, of course!).
If I talk about: “…analyzing transactional data for cannibalization, affinity and halo effects at the shopper segment level to select optimal offers which drive traffic, baskets and loyalty…”, only true retail people fully understand:
- what data-elaboration is required
- what info they are able to obtain
- what insights they need
- how they are ACTIONABLE
So it’s better…
- …to teach seasoned retail people how to beneficially use analytics tools
- …teaching computer whizzes (who know analytics technologies inside-out) how to be merchants