Some decades ago, most retailers faced a hard time to keep count of their sales and inventory as they expanded. This was the time when the first tentative steps were made towards adopting the consistently improving computing abilities. The Wal-Mart’s leasing of an IBM 370/135 computer system in the year 1975 to maintain inventory control for every bit of merchandise in the warehouse and distribution centers and generate income statements for each of its stores was the first step towards integrated IT model. The model managed to connect stores to warehouses, vendors and even home offices, the staple for any big retail player. The dilemma that challenged these retailers was not the lack of data but an explosion of it.
Walmart today receives 100,000 footfalls in a week, only in its US stores. In the online world, the e-commerce giant Amazon receives more than billions visits each year.
So, now the question is Why Retail Analytics?
In an ultracompetitive retailing world of today, understanding your potential customer and winning them is quite complicated. The problem here isn’t the lack of data available about who your consumers are and what is that they are buying. Data pours in from multiple systems, channels, and regions around the clock. The big challenge here is the way or the methodology to extract the meaning from this collated data for informed decision making.
With Big data analytics retailers can directly correlate and connect consumer web activity with promotions and marketing campaigns, and track successful sales. It also gives retailers leverage to monitor and tweak promotions and marketing campaigns in near real-time to maximize spends, increase profits and generate revenue during this short and critical period of time. This is done by slicing and dicing terabytes of data.
Due to only scarce understanding of the range of capabilities now at their disposal, and a shortage of skilled analysts and knowledgeable champions, most of the retailers remain marooned and overwhelmed in the ocean of this data.
The major reason for why retailers aren’t taking full advantage of these capabilities is that analytics has still largely been allocated to the IT division as a data warehousing and management issue instead of a strategic weapon. Also, the traditional slot of managers is still very suspicious about building strategies around analytics.
Time is Ripe for Analytics experts
The opportunity is wholly for Retail Analytics Experts to grab it. The enormous retail landscape, evolving and ever-expanding, shaped by new-age competition challenging traditional retail channels and practices has vigorously shaken many retailers out of their inertia.
The time is perfectly ripe for analytics experts, wherein they are required to move beyond their own traditional mindset and come up with robust and measurable business solutions through upgraded analytics methodologies.
In India too retail sector is an evolving market. The annual retail business in India is estimated to be $500 billion. As more and more retailers enter the market the consumers buying pattern and shopping behavior is bound to change that clearly showcase analytics will play a vital role in India.
So, are you gearing up for to be part of this ‘Big Opportunity’ and upgrading yourself with latest analytics techniques and methodologies?
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