Retailers Get Smart with BI in 2019

Chain Store Age – Business intelligence has moved from the latest new thing in retail technology to an integral component of industry solutions that are used across the enterprise. But the mainstreaming of BI has not stopped retailers and vendors from continuing to apply BI capabilities in new and groundbreaking ways in every aspect of retail operations. Chain Store Age spoke with three industry experts to find out how the most innovative retailers will be leveraging BI to obtain competitive advantage in the areas of demand planning and fulfillment, workforce management and in-store customer service.

By utilizing cloud-based, real-time BI analytics, Ken Morris, principal, BRP, retail consulting firm, advises that brick-and-mortar retailers can deliver a truly seamless customer experience.

“At store level, via the cloud retailers can use BI to understand customer context,” said Morris. “You can know who’s in front of you, what’s in their closet, what they look at online, and what people who are similar to them buy. If they frequently buy on sale, you might offer a shirt and tie combination at a discount to go with the suit they bought last month.” Morris termed this type of real-time omnichannel customer experience “headless commerce.”

“You have the same information across different user interfaces,” said Morris. “The same store planogram data you’re feeding an associate in real time to determine if they should offer a personalized discount can be used to direct a customer to find products they saw online via beacon notifications to their smartphone.”

On the back end, Morris said retailers can deploy BI solutions to perform store-level micro merchandising, based on current conditions and local shopper demographics. “You can quickly vary store assortment by weather and what’s happening in that location,” said Morris. “You can allocate by ethnicity, accounting for different demographic preferences in size, brand and color.

Every store is different and can be dynamically reallocated.” By combining the ability to tailor a customer’s in-store experience by individual shopping behavior, as well as by broader demographic and event-based factors, retailers can provide a truly omnichannel experience in the store.

“Retailers can offer an Amazon experience at store level in real time,” concluded Morris.

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