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4 Common Retail Challenges and How BI Solutions Can Help

Posted by Indusa Admin on December 20, 2016 1:24 pm

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Driving Your Retail Organization with Business Intelligence Solutions

With the holiday season in full swing, understanding customer behaviors, attitudes, needs, and pain points is essential for the success of your retail organization. The right data at the right time can help you make informed and data-driven decisions.

Adopting a business intelligence solution is a powerful way to work towards your retail goals. With the worldwide business intelligence and analytics market reaching $16.9 billion in 2016, it goes without saying that BI can certainly benefit the retail industry specifically. Leveraging the features of business intelligence and data management services paired with the expertise of analytics and data integration, a retail business intelligence solution may be just the answer you need.

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Since retail businesses manage an enormous amount of information – from supplier data to customer buying behavior, employee information to inventory details – every interaction and every data point offers an opportunity to make your retail business more efficient and successful. And although this data is crucial in making important business decisions, there are several challenges retailers face in every sphere.

4 Common Retail Challenges

Let’s look at 4 of the most common challenges and how a retail business intelligence solution can help overcome them:

Challenge 1: Managing Multiple Stores

If you’re launching new stores across geographies, there’s reason to celebrate – your business is doing well! While additional stores represent great opportunities to reach a larger customer base, they also present a pressing challenge: each of these outlets must deliver your brand promise and must do so at each and every customer touch point. And considering how dynamic the industry is, there is no room for problems to hang around. When something is not working the way it should, you immediately need to learn about it and how to fix it.

With a retail BI solution, you can say goodbye to never-ending spreadsheets and static reports, and say hello to new-age interactive data analytics. Take advantage of reporting and analytics, and uncover distinct patterns in sales, regulations, inventory, and margins in each location, and optimize your processes across all of your stores.  Get insight into why some of your stores are not performing well, or why customers are not buying products at a particular store despite discounts, and then take necessary action.

Challenge 2: Changing Consumer Trends

Emerging consumer behaviors and transformational cultural shifts are causing consumers to expect, more than ever, a greater variety of low-priced, high quality, socially responsible products, across multiple channels, consistently and quickly. Today’s consumers are also highly informed, enabled by modern technologies like smartphones and social media that give unprecedented access to products, pricing, and reviews. Tracking changing consumer trends is critical in order to be effective at marketing, design, product development, and every other initiative that impacts your customers.

A retail BI solution lets you prepare for, and analyze big data to find patterns in customer purchasing behavior.  Plan, monitor, and assess the success of your promotional activities and get insight into how your customers react to marketing incentives, seasonal promotions, and competition. Gather social media data and analyze engagement levels (likes, shares, comments) to track demographics, buying patterns, and influencing behaviors. With the right real-time insights, you can shorten your supply cycles to meet changing customer preferences. Improve forecast accuracy and efficiently handle seasonal demands. Analyze and visualize every minor facet of your customer data and rework your strategies, in order to attract more customers and maximize your margins.

Challenge 3: Supply Chain Complexities

Efficient and effective merchandising is vital to a highly functioning retail operation. However, retailers often battle several merchandising issues: from under-performing inventory to out-of-stock products, among others. Supply chains have become much more complex in recent years, with a number of dynamic forces in play, including changes in sourcing practices, and diversification in sales and distribution formats. Since products have to be available on shelves at all times, there is constant pressure of ensuring fast replenishment, often numerous times a day, while minimizing inventory inside outlets. Seasonal peaks and troughs are inevitable, so you need to efficiently handle logistics and transport the required volume of goods accordingly.

A retail BI solution helps in process improvements across your business, resulting in more profitable assortments, reduced markdowns and greater inventory effectiveness. With access to insightful and crucial data right at your fingertips, you can understand demand patterns, see how your supply chain network is functioning and improve your day-to-day operations. Gain near-real-time insight into supply and demand dynamics and avoid under- or over-stocking. Achieve more accurate forecasts, greater integrated business planning efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction.

Challenge 4: Competitive Pressures

The retail industry is highly competitive, with few barriers to entry. Keeping tabs on your competitors can be difficult. What is your position in the market? Are you price competitive? Are your competitors running any great promotions? To get an idea of where you stand, you can either spend hours pouring over catalogs and marketing materials, or take advantage of a retail business intelligence solution.

A retail business intelligence solution enables 24/7 real-time monitoring of your competitors including competitor profiling, business model analysis and competitive forecasting. Get insight into your competitors’ offerings and pricing, determine what products you’re missing out on, and identify potential opportunities for improvement. By having access to advanced reports, you can benchmark the performance of your products against those of your competitors, conduct predictive analysis, and fine-tune pricing, discounts, and assortments accordingly. Optimize costs, maximize profitability, act on the right information at the right time, and stay one step ahead in the race.

Overcome Retail Business Intelligence Challenges

Retail business intelligence software, a great BI solution for the retail industry, can solve many of the challenges you experience every day. You can get complete insights into customer trends and behaviors, understand your competition, improve your supply chain and benchmark one location against another while optimizing all of them simultaneously. You can also determine the right time and amount to offer a discount – a retail business intelligence solution has you covered in every situation.

Does your retail business face any of these challenges? Let Indusa and the power of business intelligence help solve any issues you might have.

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Manoj Nair
About the Author – Neha Kumar

Neha Kumar is a digital media evangelist and marketing professional. She overlooks Indusa’s content management, social media, online events, email marketing, blogs, digital campaigns, lead generation and inside sales activities on a broader scale.

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Contibuting Author: Malavika Nityanandam