NRFtech 2011 IT Leadership Summit, held Aug. 14 to 16, not only offered lessons for those retail professionals familiar with today’s technology advances, but also for those retailers who are less technologically inclined. Among the informational sessions was, “Exploiting Advanced Optimization Capabilities in Core Retail Functions,” or simply, “the challenges and opportunities of business intelligence”; whether you are a chain store, box store or an independent retailer, business intelligence can give you insight into your customers’ needs and actions, as well as their overall effect on your bottom line. The dynamic panel featuring Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from Carter’s, Ascena Retail Group and PETCO had a handful of positives and pitfalls to share with attendees on what materialized from their investments in business intelligence.
Among the list of positives is that business intelligence helps you understand how your customers shop in different channels. According to NRF’s recap blog, “It use to be easy to tell which customers shopped in stores and which shopped online.” Now, retailers are scrambling to take advantage of the multiple technology-driven channels their customers are accessing, and trying to analyze the data on how and when shoppers access each shopping channel (store, online, smartphone and tablet) during the buying process. Business intelligence analytics can highlight the best way to deliver on a promise in an omni-channel retail world, as the store-centric demand model quickly becomes outdated.
Other professionally advised positives and pitfalls of business intelligence include:
- Allows you to create analytics for multiple brands on different systems
- Teaches you more about your customer
- Improves productivity of store managers
- IT’S NOT FOOLPROOF