The retail industry is constantly evolving, meaning there is a consistent swathe of data that’s being collected every single day – from emerging trends and sales, to changes in the global market and everything in between.
Gathering, measuring, and reporting on this data is a huge task for retailers, but it’s a necessary one.
By implementing a solid Business Intelligence (BI) system, companies can effectively store and analyze this data to make sure they’re evolving just as quickly as the retail industry.
The goal with any BI tool is to provide increased visibility into day-to-day operations.
This might happen through traditional trends and sales analytics or it might be more in-depth and provide a predictive outlook.
When used in the right way, a BI tool can help retail brands increase their sales per visit by better understanding their customers’ needs, optimize prices to align with current trends, increase margins by analyzing and determining upcoming trends, and providing a better shopping experience for customers.
Let’s take a look at how this might play out in each segment of the retail world.
BI in the eCommerce Industry
eCommerce has boomed in the retail world over recent years – and it’s only set to grow even more.
In fact, in 2020, eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4 trillion.
It’s obvious why many brands are shifting into the digital sphere and taking advantage of some of the features that come with it, from Artificial Intelligence to customer service bots. But with tons of tools available to track and measure, how do you, as a retailer, know what to track and how to track it?
For eCommerce brands, there are so many different moving parts that need measuring. There’s merchandise that needs to be tracked, shipping to be organized and tracked, suppliers and shipments to be managed, and customer behavior to be identified and analyzed.
So how does BI help to stay on top of some of the most important data?
Let’s take a look at Fiverr, a global online marketplace that sells services for prices ranging from five dollars to thousands of dollars. For them, company data means incredibly useful insights that will help them gain the upper hand.
They believe learning from users is considerably more valuable than studying their competitors, so they won’t put out any new features until they know that it will provide their users with unprecedented value.
Using Sisense as a BI tool, they combined data from Google Docs, spreadsheets, and analytics to easily track events that were taking place on their site and mobile app.
And, as the user-base increased, so did Fiverr’s needs.
Perhaps the most important thing that Fiverr needed a BI tool for was to track real-time user behavior. In the eCommerce world, things move quickly. Being able to see what people are doing in the moment is vital to stay ahead of the game.
Before Sisense, the data Fiverr was gathering was all over the place from numerous different sources – basically, not a speedy way to gather data as it was happening. Today, the product team use data gathered on Sisense to determine their product roadmap.
Why BI is Beneficial for eCommerce
The online world is incredibly dynamic. Things move at the speed of light, and staying on trend means generating reports as close to real-time as possible.
This allows brands to optimize prices of items at the right time, according to upcoming trends and what customers have bought previously. Measuring and analyzing data as it comes in means brands can improve their positioning in the market.
In fact, according to a study by CIO, 19% of executives claimed accessing real-time data drastically improved their competitive lead.
For Fiverr, Sisense allowed them to create and maintain an agile environment where they could make speedy, smart decisions based on user behavior.
BI for In-Store Needs
With the added competition of huge online stores like Amazon, retailers need quick, data-driven ways to make the best decisions fast.
Most retailers (should) know what their best selling product is, but when you’re gathering data from a series of stores or have products all over the world, things get a little more complicated.
If you serve multiple markets, you need a deeper and wider view of what’s selling well and where, and that’s harder to track.
This is the problem KargoCard faced. As a gift card company, they supply gift card walls to convenience and retail stores in 20 different Chinese cities.
The sheer amount of locations they were selling to made it difficult to track and measure the metrics from each place and optimize their sales efforts in according with the results.
So, what did they do? They implemented a BI system to bring it all together.
With Sisense they could put together partner data that was being sent in Excel or CSV files in order to better track inventory possession across the entire network of stores throughout China.
Essentially, they could quickly and easily see which brands of cards were out of stock and act fast so they didn’t lose any sales.
The dashboard KargoCard uses helps them optimize their sales efforts and carry out A/B testing on their retail model.
Why BI is Beneficial for In-Store Needs
By implementing BI, KargoCard have been able to increase their revenue by making effective merchandising decisions, including restocking the stores when necessary, and re-ordering cards when data shows it’s a good idea.
BI ensures in-store needs are met and that efficient decisions can be made quickly and cost effectively.
BI for Behind-the-Scenes
There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes in a retail company.
It’s not just measuring and tracking sales and trends, there’s also gathering marketing data, deciding internal budgets, and forecasting historical data.
For Skullcandy, a leading supplier of headphones, earbuds, and other audio devices, tracking all of this meant their data covered more than 100-million rows in multiple source locations – a logistical nightmare, as you can imagine.
In order to get all of this information in one unified place, they turned to a BI solution.
With the system they had in place before, they often found they were missing certain bits of data, and the results regularly weren’t accurate – not a good thing for a retail company trying to stay on top of things.
Why BI is Beneficial for Behind-the-Scenes
Skullcandy implemented Sisense across the board – from their IT department to their HR department and everything in between. It became the go-to data software for the entire company.
Each department can now easily add new data, access automated reports, and send results from one sector to another without having to wade through hundreds of different documents.
Data is refreshed immediately, meaning there are less inaccuracies, and the whole team can get their hands on fast data as and when they need it.
BI as a Benefit to Retailers in General
There’s no doubt about it – the retail industry is huge.
Keeping up with the crowds and constantly implementing systems and strategies to increase sales and stay ahead of the game is no easy task, but with a BI solution, you can start collecting and tracking the data that matters.
Gathering data from all departments – not just sales – is a logistical nightmare, especially if that data is being delivered in multiple different formats from multiple different sources.
With a simple BI solution, you can put all that data in one place and easily track trends, sales, and important information on the fly – what’s not to like about that?
Key Advantages of BI for Retail
- Improved customer experience – customer expectations are higher than ever now that there’s more competition in the retail world, and brands have to ensure that customers are retained and kept happy at every stage of the shopping process.
- Predictive modeling – the most successful retail businesses are not only measuring their current data, but they’re also looking into the future. With a retail predictive analytics tool, companies can combine current data with other relevant stats to seek out new sales opportunities, identify upcoming trends, and create models for the items customers are most likely to buy.
- Optimize price – having access to relevant big data means brands can update their prices in real-time to coincide with current supply, demand, and upcoming trends.
Whether you want to succeed in the eCommerce field, like Fiverr, whether you want to measure what is selling well and where in numerous different locations, or whether you want to create a streamlined data-mining process across your entire company, a BI solution can help you do just that.
Are you ready to better your business with a BI solution? Check out how Sisense’s range of easy-to-use dashboards can help you reach your targets.