Can Business Intelligence (BI) Really Help Retailers?

beggers December 28, 2017 0
Can Business Intelligence (BI) Really Help Retailers?

Retail is a changing industry. The rise of ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba, coupled with successfully digital transformations for massive retailers like Walmart, is bringing about a paradigm shift in the field. The term “retail Apocalypse” has been thrown around a lot over the past 12 months, as many longtime brick-and-mortar giants are downsizing or filing for bankruptcy. While it’s almost certain that consumers will continue buying things, businesses need to get smarter about the way they sell to people, or else they might end in failure. Business intelligence can help provide retail solutions.

What Is Business Intelligence?

Maybe you only know a little bit about BI; or maybe you know nothing at all. Both options are okay as long as you’re willing to learn, and can accept that this field is critically important to developing retail solutions for your business. Essentially, BI utilizes different software and programs to create a data-driven picture of your operations. There is no single prescription for BI. However, it’s crucial for companies to utilize these tools if they plan to improve their models, and stay competitive within the rapidly changing industry of retail.

Make Better Inventory Decisions

Inventory is one of the most important aspects of a retailer. It’s a huge risk to purchase large quantities of goods. Poor buying decisions can lead to receding margins, and potential catastrophe for the company as a whole. BI can help find retail solutions for optimal inventory selection and size. By delving into the past performance of various products, it’s possible to fine-tune purchasing patterns for greater profitability. In the age of Internet shopping, it’s essential that retailers of all kinds are making informed decisions when it comes to inventory management. Failing in this area can lead to disaster in the short and long term.

Utilize Search-driven Analytics

Search-driven analytics is one of the newest, and most exciting, tools in the BI world. Unlike many BI programs, which require specialized training and interpretive knowledge, search-driven analytics can be learned by people without a data background. This analytics paradigm works much like a search engine such as Google. Instead of responding to queries about celebrities or the weekend weather forecast, search-driven analytics works with structure data to return actionable insights.

This is truly one of the most exciting BI developments in recent years, as it completely changes what’s possible when it comes to using structured data for deriving insights. There are two main ways search-driven analytics is ideal for generating retail solutions:

  • Faster Turnaround: Search-driven analytics is revolutionary because it allows businesses to gain insights in far less time than with traditional BI. This is due to its design, which allows users to input search terms and receive instant results. Quicker results can be invaluable in a world that continues to move faster by the day.
  • Get Insights from All Levels: Another highly lucrative aspect of search-driven analytics is its usability. Anyone with sufficient permissions can access the program—allowing insights to come from all levels of an organization. Someone from HR will probably know more about their department than anyone else; so it makes sense that they should be able to easily use data to identify and solve problems.

Refine Your Audience

Business Intelligence tools aren’t only good for internal aspects. They can also be invaluable at identifying and refining your company’s target audience. In the past, marketing was largely a guessing game. Today, it’s possible to quantify success and derive qualitative analysis from that structured data. Throwing huge amounts of money into unsuccessful campaigns is no longer acceptable for companies trying to generate effective retail solutions. It’s essential that your business utilizes BI tools for this aspect of operations, or else it will fall behind the rest of the pack.

Business intelligence is an interesting paradox. At first, it was just a way for the most forward-thinking companies to grow more efficiently than competitors. Now, however, BI is essential for any outfit that wants to be successful in the current retail landscape.


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