BI in Retail Industry
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Business Intelligence in Retail Industry to Boost Success

11 Feb 2022

Today, retail is one of the most data-heavy industries globally. Therefore, for any retailer, the use of business intelligence (BI) tools helps organize, analyze and contextualize business data. And, with reports, performance measures and company trends, it enables informed decision making in the present day. Further, BI allows retailers to take advantage of new opportunities to predict sales, analyze market potential and understand customers on a deeper level.

While you might have got a brief idea about why BI here is vital – the question is – What are you doing to make the most of it?

If you wish to understand how an effective BI solution can help optimize your business processes, reduce operational costs and maximize growth opportunities, then this article is for you.

Key Contents:

Importance of Business Intelligence in the Retail Industry

Retailers are sitting on heaps of data – right from customer purchases to inventory details, supplier data and more. They are increasingly turning to BI tools to deliver exceptional value to customers. Armed with the right solutions, businesses can uncover insights that enhance store performance, inventory management, customer engagement and product merchandising. While many businesses already use analytics and BI, there is also a growing concern to utilize these solutions better.

Emergence of Retail Business Intelligence Ecosystem

A technology-driven process helps translate raw data into meaningful insights to support better decision-making for organizations. It typically involves using analytics to identify trends and patterns though it can be done in multiple ways. This is especially useful in improving customer engagement where real-time data tools come in handy. This enables sales teams to draw customer histories, habits and possible interest avenues. Goes without saying – the better you know about your customers, the better you can connect and provide great service.

Here are some ways in which retailers can enhance their BI capability by using the various solutions suited to their needs.

  • Dashboards and visualization
  • Data mining
  • Predictive analytics
  • Prescriptive analytics
  • Text analytics

Benefits of Business Intelligence in the Retail Industry

Advantages of Business Intelligence in Retail

The idea of BI in retail is to help businesses operate in a smarter & agile way. Here are some of the major benefits that retailers can exploit:

Deeper Understanding of Customer Behavior: With BI, retailers can discover who their customers are, how they behave & what they want. This information is crucial to boost CX & enhance marketing initiatives. For example, retailers can use customer analytics by utilizing a BI tool that helps in creating products or services to meet end user expectations. The analytics can even help marketers to craft data-driven customer journey maps by providing insights about how customers interact with products, websites, or businesses.

Optimize Store Floor Plans: A BI software can help retailers to design a floor plan that allows customers to shop without hassle. This helps determine whether the selected floor plan is sufficient for the floor size and product types. It can analyze various data sets using BI solutions (number of stops, visits’ duration, etc.) and recommend a floor plan that will help consumers to find products with ease.

Improved Inventory Management: Any retail company that holds stocks can encounter inventory challenges ranging from inefficient tracking to overstocking issues and more. Investing in a business intelligence solution can simplify inventory management and solve most of the stock-related challenges. This system enables maintaining optimal stock levels, reduce inventory costs, and improving order management and order processing. It also helps predict overstocking scenarios before they become a significant problem.

Supply Chain Efficiency: Today supply chains have become more complex as retailers engage with merchants and sell more of their products. This could lead to inefficiencies and an increase in underperforming departments with limited/no visibility into different distribution channels. However, the BI system can give key insights gained from day-to-day operations. This allows businesses to create a logical forecast model as well as identify & eliminate logistical bottlenecks that could be addressed by the supply team.

Still Confused About BI Solutions for Retail?

We can build custom solutions to help you uncover trends to drive efficiency, productivity & better sales.

Now that you’ve understood the advantages, let’s also look at the use cases of business intelligence in the retail sector and how some of the major players are leveraging the same!

Real-World Examples of BI in Retail

Starbucks: The Seattle-based coffee chain leverages BI to a great deal. With the widely popular loyalty card program, it gains access to large volumes of data. By bringing the right system in place, the coffee giant can predict what individual customers would order next. This encourages offering more personalized experiences with every in-store visit, thus increasing overall sales.

Amazon: Based on the search & surfing trends, Amazon today can personalize product recommendations for a specific type of customer and market products effectively. They even leverage data to make accurate & logistical business decisions. An outcome of comprehensive data analysis enables the eCommerce giant to efficiently manage its huge supply chain.

Coca-Cola: Automating manual reporting processes by utilizing BI, the multinational beverage company saved 260 hours a year! Additionally, report automation offered sales teams utilize the right customer relationship management (CRM) data that helps with timely and actionable information.

Rishabh’s Success Stories

With a deep understanding of this massive sector, Rishabh has supported global organizations with their retail business intelligence needs.

Here’s a look at how we have helped our clients:

Sales Dashboard Development

A Middle Eastern retail company with multiple businesses under various segments struggled with multiple applications and no proper insights.

The solution addressed challenges like;

  • Lack of a centralized reporting system meant that management teams were unable to make informed decisions
  • No proper tracking and monitoring of KPIs across business segments

Upon careful analysis of their business needs, we developed a BI reporting system and created dashboards for CEO summary and strategies. We also assisted with the integration of various applications to provide centralized reporting that would help users at various levels.

The developed solution resulted in the following:

  • 100% accurate trend insights & forecasting
  • 5X improvement in effective decision making

Store wise analysis & comparison with the previous year sales

Multi-Channel eCommerce Management Solution

An Asian eCommerce company with a presence in Indian and international markets, envisioned wider consumer & branch reach, along with a boost in sales. As their preferred tech partner, we helped our client by developing an intuitive and robust SaaS-based solution that helped sellers host their products and list them on multi-channel platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and more.

The solution addressed the challenges like;

  • Poor tracking of product listing, product reviews & ratings
  • No custom reports across inventory management, order processing, CRM
  • Lack of integration capability & data pulling from third-party product listing platforms

The newly developed solution resulted in:

  • 80% client retention with optimum quality
  • 4X increase in operational efficiency
  • Modern & responsive user experience

Top BI Tools

For the above-listed companies without the right tools at their disposal, predicting outcomes would have become a headache. Here’s an overview of  some of the top BI tools that will give you a pulse over your business:

Microsoft Power BI: This tool from Microsoft features interactive business intelligence capabilities that offer intuitive visualization capabilities to create smart reports and dashboards. The tool comes with in-build AI capabilities and pre-built data connectors. As part of the Microsoft ecosystem, it offers easy integrations with other resources including – MS Azure, Microsoft 365 and more. It also provides end-to-end encryption to assist you with real-time monitoring. Working with an experienced Power BI development company can help you transform large-scale enterprise data sets into rich dashboards and reports that drive smarter business decisions.

Tableau: It provides varied dashboard development capability to consolidate data on a single platform – and extract actionable insights right from customer journey to sales, performance and more. With an intuitive interface similar to Power BI, it makes data exploration easy and it supports visual query language that even non-technical users can utilize. Tableau also helps combine raw, relational & semi-structured data in real-time. With an automatic forecasting feature, you can choose from eight time-series forecasting models by automatically selecting the parameters.

BI Solution Selection Guidelines for Success

When analyzing the BI market, you would realize there’s no shortage of vendors and platforms to choose from. Though the key to success would be to find a solution that best fits the specific business needs post conducting an in-depth assessment of the requirements.

Listed below are a few criteria:

  • Establish clear objectives for BI application & use case.
  • Opt for a solution specifically developed for a traditional retail environment.
  • Implement and execute a rigorous change management plan that comprises measures to attain buy-in from all the stakeholders.
  • Ensure the right competencies are mapped to implement the solution OR seek aid from IT specialists like Rishabh Software who have prior experience in delivering BI projects.
  • Finalize the vendor who can provide strategic and technical support throughout your solution development lifecycle.
  • Many companies tend to ignore but it is vital to develop post-deployment BI governance policies and data-quality maintenance metrics.

As Rishabh, we consult retail companies to implement a BI solution that is most suitable.

For creating a custom solution, any company conducts:

  • Collection, management and prioritization of business requirements.
  • Designing a BI solution that meets the precise business requirements.

And, while designing a BI solution, the company needs to choose BI tools according to its needs and restraints. Among the most common, we can name Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and more.

With tool selection, it is important to work on the listed points;

  • Defining KPIs
  • Defining QA processes
  • Designing – implementation strategy & user adoption strategy
  • Development and implementation of all components within BI solution
  • Holding user training sessions for KT
  • Mapping and managing solution support and evolution

We can help you across the entire process of understanding, designing, building & deploying the right system.

Final Words!

The advantages of business intelligence in the retail industry are endless. From offering clear insights into business trends to improving customer experiences, it helps enhance a business’s proficiency and enables smart decision-making.

With Rishabh as your tech partner, you can expect a highly experienced team of professionals eager to implement & offer true intelligence to your business while taking care of possible data challenges at the same time. If you experience difficulties choosing the right BI tool to suit your needs, developing a BI solution, or defining how BI as a service will work for you, we’re your technology experts who care.

Get Ready for Intelligent Retail Insights

Combining domain expertise and best practices, we can help you navigate the market complexities with confidence!