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How Can Retailers Leverage Analytics in Making Business Decisions?

The Indian retailer is inundated with challenges like increasing offline competition, mounting online threats, changing social norms and fickle customer needs. And to top it all, he is deluged with vast data and trying his way around it to make sense of it all. It’s akin to asking a drenched man to find the exact raindrops that’s soaking him!

This is where analytics can be a game-changer in retail. Adopting easy to use tools that are bundled with your business software can help retailers of all sizes practice decision making through analytics.

There are five simple ways or 5 Es to equip tools and processes to leverage data and make informed business decisions: 

Enquire – Ask Questions to Align Frictionless Experience

Any learning, far less analytics, starts with asking the right questions. Identifying questions pertaining to one’s business performance and probing on them rigorously is vital. Retailers should ask questions that they would like answers through analytics. This helps them in defining processes better and gives personalized, frictionless customer experience. Talk to your business through analytics to identify customer buying patterns, non-moving products, drop in sales, performing categories. Easy to use Q&A mode based analytics tools which are tightly integrated with your business software can provide answers real-time and keep you informed

Ensure – Get Real-Time Insights for Timely Decision Making

Timing is crucial. Analytics should help setting up a process where critical business information are updated real-time. For example, a retailer usually gets an update on auditing bills, discounts, excess inwards etc, only once in 2 weeks. However, they have to be notified real-time so that timely decisions can to be made on the move

It is important to opt for an analytics platform which sends real-time push notifications on store happenings and seeks explicit approval for actions to be performed. Setting up a notification-based approval system to review critical decisions like voucher approval, discount approval, stock update approval, GRN approval will speed up the decision execution as well as operate business without physical presence.

Envision – Forecast and Plan for Future Demand

Visual representation of data with relevant graphical charts and figures helps sensitize the importance and intensity of the efforts required. 

The right analytics platform can help you create a customized graphical dashboard based on what one wants to see frequently and envision a plan every day. Deploying ML driven demand forecasting visual analytics can help plan the purchases better. Visualizing the buying pattern can drive personalized promotions for customers to increase footfalls. 

Envoy – Improve Operational Excellence with Right Data

Every retailer irrespective of how big or small a business is, should delegate work wisely with clarity. It is imperative to ensure right person sees right data to make right decisions

Retailers must configure analytics based on roles, and augment teams to dig deeper into the data with pivoting, flexible filters, and report bookmark options. A sales manager can focus on customer buying behaviour, peak day sales pattern and not on supplier wise margin, price decisions etc.

AI driven replenishment analytics can help procurement team to minimize inventory yet maximize sales. ML to understand the inventory movement can help employees with daily stock taking, rack refilling without any supervision

Execute – Drive Profitability to Grow Efficiently

Using analytics to process decisions is only 50 percent of work, executing the gleaned insight is the key. 
While many retailers have access to data, executing them is crucial to drive profitability and grow with efficiency. Retailers can setup a task management system to communicate decisions across stakeholders, track the progress/ status till resolution. For instance, if there is a list of non-moving products, a task can be instantly created for the inventory manager to clear it off within a specific timeline through offers. Measuring the results of your decisions is also part of decision-making using analytics.

A Gartner researcher says, “information is the oil of 21st century and analytics is combustion engine”. Unlocking data with analytics to execute decisions with the 5 E’s lets one pick the profit needle from the competitive haystack!

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