In today’s challenging retail environment, it has become more important than ever that the many wheels and cogs of the retail enterprise work together to bring about success. Bringing an infusion of insight to guide all parts of the business in overall decision making, Business Intelligence (BI) is like the oil that makes this machinery churn more effortlessly. And who doesn’t want a well-oiled retail machine?
In many retail organizations, marketers have been collecting information on customers and their buying habits for years. But now, we’re seeing a “democratization of BI” where it is being leveraged across the organization. As a result, retailers are coming to find a great up-until-now-untapped potential for organizations to leverage this detailed information for purposes other than marketing.
In the Business Intelligence repository, you have one central location for information about customers, sales by style, color, period, etc. This enables savvy retailers to evaluate market basket by persona to uncover trends. And some of these trends are leading retailers down roads they never may have considered before.
For example, ever wonder why you see menswear stores starting up a women’s department, or popular office supply warehouses selling “As Seen on TV” products such as Ove Gloves and Pedi-Eggs? Both of these events stem from BI, or more specifically trends unearthed thanks to BI. As any woman knows, the vast majority of menswear is actually purchased by women. So, why not give the lady of the house an opportunity to pick up a little something for herself while she’s picking up the mister's shirts and ties? And a vast majority of home-based businesses (who stock up at office supply warehouses) are run by women; women who also buy things like Ove Gloves and Pedi-Eggs.
It’s vital that retailers understand who their customers are and what drives them. That said, it’s becoming more difficult to understand customers. Today’s customer is more sophisticated, has many more choices and a lot of retailers competing for their business. And also, they are “breaking the mold” when it comes to their buying behaviors. For example, women in their 50s aren’t purchasing like 50-year-olds did in the past. (50 is the new 40, don’t you know!)
And that’s why BI is so very valuable. You need to crunch a lot of data and do it quickly to know just what your customers are up to, so you can make the right decisions. Smart retailers know BI can help them to get inside their customers hearts and mind, so they can have a better chance of getting inside their wallets.
Posted by Ashraf Zaid, Director of Product Management, Technology and Architecture, Epicor