How Real-Time Analytics Deliver Data-Driven Insights [Future of Retail]

Stores and websites are using continuously updated information dashboards to make retail decisions on the spot, not months later.

Whether you are a store manager, sales associate, marketing director, or even the CEO of your company, access to up-to-minute about your customers, available inventory, pricing and competition is going to help you make smarter decisions. How else would you decide which shirts to stock to meet demand and which accessories to put on special sale?

Operating on yesterday’s numbers is just no longer viable in an age of instant information. However, the question remains: how do you collate all the data from sales, marketing, and supply chain (to name a few) and make sense of them in a way that can be understood by people on all levels along the chain of command?

In PSFK’s fourth Future of Retail report, the team at PSFK Labs has found that a trend we’re calling Real-Time Analytics is enabling retailers and brands to analyze the right data in real-time to generate solutions that can be implemented across an organization. The development of more sophisticated algorithms, coupled with visually rich dashboards, now allows companies to translate unstructured data streams into actionable insights that ca drive more responsive operations and power smarter long term decisions. Read on to see how these platforms are being utilized inside forward-thinking businesses.

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Fashion retailer Brooks Brothers is employing eCommera’s DynamicAction analytics tools, adjusting their website to best meet the needs of their online customers. The software creates an analytics dashboard with metrics such as inventory counts, customer views, and items viewed but not ordered, among others. The dashboard provides Brooks Brothers’ website design team with a simplified list of action items that could save money and drive sales, such as reordering product category lists to best reflect customer interest and facilitate click-through. Cindy Lincks, Brooks Brothers’ analytics director, said the team is now able to quickly determine where they want to apply the marketing dollars saved and can reorder product displays online to increase revenue.

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Fast-fashion retailer Bohme uses business intelligence software company Domo to effectively track and understand their consumers as they look to convert on a 30-day ideation-to-sale cycle while maintaining data-transparency across the company. Domo locates key data across company silos, including human resources, purchasing, distribution, inventory, and sales, and places it in the cloud for safekeeping and easy access. The information is then plugged into one interface for use by executives and store managers alike. Using a visual dashboard, the associates and managers can see what is selling and what is not so they can adjust manufacturing and supply chain output in real-time.

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LightSpeed Retail is rolling out a new system for managers so that they can track sales across all of a company’s channels. The retail software platform aids retailers in monitoring inventory levels and processing invoices and shipments from one dashboard while on-the-go or in-store. The dashboard displays most-popular items, automatically generates year-over-year comparisons of sales, and optimizes staffing by visually identifying historical sales peaks. Retailers can enable real-time notifications in order to keep track of incoming orders from online channels, so staff can make adjustments based on demand and shifting trends. The platform gives retailers the freedom to make quick decisions and adjustments, instead of waiting until the season’s end to deal with a huge amount of unwanted items.

The trend of Real-Time Analytics is part of a larger theme called Data-Driven Commerce Systems. When implemented, these information tools enable any organization to dynamically respond to changes in the marketplace, develop better tools for customers and staff and add efficiencies into the shopping experience.

The 2014 edition of the Future of Retail Report is now available from PSFK Labs. The new survey describes key trends driving the retail experience and the findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands.

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