Identifying retail pain points
Before you can harness the power of information; you first need to understand the specific problems you hope your data insights will solve. The overarching challenge for many retailers is to cost efficiently provide a seamless, omni-channel shopping experience — an experience geared toward consumers who interact with your brand online, in a store, over the phone, by using a mobile device, at a kiosk, from a catalogue, or all the above — to your customers. Your goal is to provide the right product, at the right price, in the right place, and at the right time. But many obstacles are in your path. When you drill down into this challenge, for example, you have to determine what consumers want and work the dynamics of supply and demand to deliver on those expectations in real time. Ultimately, you need the best tools available to win customer and brand loyalty, while avoiding unnecessary costs.
Asking the critical questions every day, retailers are taking steps to increase their efficiency, improve their customer experiences, and develop smarter retailing strategies. Retailers who don’t enter this race will be left behind. To find out if your organisation is working smarter in retail, start by asking some critical questions:
- To what extent do your employees have access to the information they need at the time and place they need it?
- With which suppliers have you moved beyond cooperation to constructive collaboration?
- Which of your operational processes are able to adapt and respond quickly to changing marketplace demands?
- How much value are you getting out of the information stored across your organisation? How much external information do you leverage in your strategy and decision making?
- How well do you know your customers’ preferences?
Extracting meaning from the mountains
Data pours in from multiple systems, channels, and regions around the clock. The challenge is how to consolidate, organize, and extract meaning from the various data sources to inform decision making and enable productivity and agility in the face of multi-faceted market demands. Business Analytics has the keys you need to unlock the mysteries hidden deep within your data and empowers your organisation to spot trends and discover underlying causes and issues. Today’s Business Analytics tools offer flexible, user-friendly reporting, analysis, modeling, predictive, and planning capabilities that make it possible for everyone in your organisation to tap into the information they need to make informed decisions across all departments, locations, functions, and roles.
Creating an interconnected organisation
As you extract meaningful information from the mountains of data you collect, it’s vital to make sure the various stakeholders in all departments in your retail organisation understand how to take action on that data — and how those actions impact other parts of the organisation. Business Analytics software enables you to tailor the information to each individual’s role for security purposes and to avoid information overload.
Performance Management (PM) gives the business the flexibility to build best-case and worst-case scenarios; for example, modeling outcomes of changes in demand, then pushing those scenarios through to merchandising and operations to get a full picture of the impact, and finally driving those decisions through to finance to understand the implications to the bottom line for the organisation. PM creates the opportunity to link financial and operational plans through driver-based modeling and rolling forecasts, and gives users visibility and access to the right information at the right time to build confidence in the data and results. This modeling environment also ensures consistency between corporate strategy and field execution, creates a culture of continuous planning, and keeps the entire organisation aligned around the strategic objectives of the organisation. An additional string to the PM bow is risk management, which helps the organisation understand and act in accordance with various risk areas, including market, credit, and liquidity risk to optimize decisions and satisfy external and internal governance requirements.
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