Any way you look at it, retail is a tough business. Customers have more choices than ever. Competition is increasing every day. Brand loyalty is diminishing. Which makes having a reliable Business Intelligence (BI) solution in your arsenal more critical than ever. Trying to navigate all the hurdles facing retail in 2020 without BI is like trying to ski down a mountain during an avalanche. On one ski. Blindfolded.
Today we are going to take a deep dive into Business Intelligence, and show you how BI can help you plan, compete, and win in today’s retail environment.
What is Business Intelligence and What Can It Do for Me?
Retail is a data-driven industry. In order to truly understand customer behavior, every customer interaction needs to be measured, evaluated, and optimized…at every touchpoint. It starts well before they enter your store. And it ends long after they leave. Business Intelligence analyzes all those hundreds of thousands of data points, and uses them as the key to unlock the hidden insights nested in the data. With BI, you can get the story of what’s really happening in your stores. Just as important, it helps you gain a deeper and more nuanced picture of your customer on a quest to answer the most important question of all – why are these things happening.
How Business Intelligence Helps You Understand Your Customer
Business Intelligence solutions are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been around so long that there’s both “old school” and “new school” BI solutions. The old school ones relied on metrics such as “sales per square foot” and “same-store sales.” While these metrics were—and still are—helpful, some have become a bit outdated. More importantly, they fail to tell the whole story. They simply do not show you the why behind the customer behavior, how your merchandise assortment is being affected, and whether your high-level strategy is working.
How Business Intelligence Helps You Chainwide
With full-chain, national retail to manage, time is not a luxury you have. If problems arise, you need to be able to identify and address them fast—even if you’re not physically present in the location. That’s where a smart Business Intelligence tool comes in.
Leveraging advanced analytics and reporting, a smart BI solution can help you sift through the data to find what isn’t working. Analytics can show you sales patterns, inventory, and margins in each store location, and how to optimize performance. What products are selling in which locations? Are discounts working? How can you take advantage of the latest trends to move more product?
BI can help you reach customers in new and innovative ways. It can help you target the right customer with the right message at the right time, via the right channel. Reach a more mobile audience through well-timed smartphone engagement. Target socially conscious customers with high-quality, socially responsible products. Leverage the power and reach of social media to spread the word about your brand, new locations, sales, new products…anything you can think of. Business Intelligence helps you monitor changes in customer behavior, so you can gauge reaction to new marketing initiatives, promotions, and buying patterns.
Augmented Intelligence to Manage Assortment: BI in Action
The new breed of BI solutions leverage the power of augmented intelligence to give retailers a fuller picture of their customers and their preferences. These tools can uncover deep insights into a huge range of critical areas, to help you manage your resources more efficiently and effectively. One area where BI can be particularly helpful is managing assortment. BI can analyze your data to let you know which products are selling in what store location, so you can make more informed, data-driven decisions about your inventory.
You can use modern BI tools to give you a deeper understanding of:
- Regional preferences
- Staffing needs
- Product mixes
- Warehouse stock
- Supply chain complexities
- And much more
The end result is you can make more informed business decisions about what your customers are telling you…through the data. One of the most powerful tools for leveraging BI is our own SPARView Global Retail Operations System. Its goal is to change the way retailers view the retail space.
SPARView is Business Intelligence, Reimagined
The current retail model is upside-down. 70% of labor time is spent on operational tasks such as merchandising. To get retailers thinking less about operational tasks and more about Business Intelligence, SPAR developed SPARview.
Our proprietary Business Intelligence solution is a deluxe retail service operations system that offers a seamless, paperless experience designed to maximize retail productivity. It processes over 184,000 store visits each week worldwide, with the ability to record unlimited data points.
SPARView allows you to:
- Plan, manage and report operations on a local, national and global scale
- Automate analysis through pictures, videos and graphs
- Receive real-time alerts of in-store conditions
- Plan ahead by testing “what-if” scenarios
- Integrate with retailers and brand marketers
To learn more about SPARView, or how SPAR can help you manage your retail stores through Business Intelligence, contact us here.