Retailers thriving in the complex new world are responding with agility to three major shifts in the retail landscape. The Qlik Retail Solutions team believes the following three shifts are changing the industry from top to bottom in 2016:
- The Empowered Consumer – Connected, informed, and more empowered than ever; today’s “hidden consumers” use mobile and social media to compare and buy anywhere, anytime.
- The Agile Supply Chain – Omni-channel demands an efficient forward and reverse supply chain, letting retailers ship products within hours of purchase and offer flexible returns.
- The Changing Role of the Store - Still the primary sales channel, stores are transforming into customer engagement centers and critical supply chain hubs.
In order to capitalize on the shifts in the industry, you must have your business intelligence strategy in place to spot trends ahead of your competition. In my opinion you need the following capabilities or characteristics in place from a visual analytics platform perspective to capitalize on the trends outlined above:
- Combine Multiple Sources of Data - All of the data necessary to combine and analyze your entire business rarely live in the same place, and in most cases large pockets of data will live outside the corporate firewall with key trading partners.
- Make the Complex Easy – IT knows how to cobble data together. The solution to complex analysis problems attached to the three retail shifts must be solved at the point of decision by store managers, supply chain managers, marketers, and buyers to achieve scale in an industry where IT resources are scarce. A great example showing how to make the complex easy is this Gartner BI Bakeoff video.
- TCO Matters – Some industries spend up to 10% of their operational budget on IT. Retail is not one of those industries because the retail industry lives on thin margins. Retailers' IT projects must be successful and they must be maintained by a small staff. In a nutshell, Total Cost of Ownership matters. A great resource to evaluate business intelligence platforms is the Gartner BI Platform Ownership Cost report.
Visual analytics let you see the whole story that lives within your data. Using self-service data discovery, all employees in any role can answer questions, solve issues and share discoveries. This visibility lets your organization offer a seamless omni-channel experience to better serve empowered customers through an agile supply chain and more engaging in-store experiences. Retailers with greater knowledge and visibility can thrive in today’s complex retail environment.
Photo credit: Harry Pammer via Foter.com / CC BY-ND