"It only took a few years for Big Data from being confined solely to business strategies. Now, it affects everyone's lives, transforming every process! The world of traditional retailing has given way to a new way of selling that has devoured and reworked all the previous models. A Business Intelligence strategy in retail is no longer an innovative choice, but a real need for those who want to market themselves. "
Believe it or not, this excerpt has been taken entirely from an article that will be published in the future, guaranteed, by 2020. The past of a future blog is our present. This will happen for sure; to some, earlier than others, but only for those who can ride the wave of the new and inevitable revolution.
Trace, predict, automate, simplify, and more
Actually, it's already starting to happen and the data doesn't lie. Already, online purchases are literally overtaking the traditional ones and the distinction between physical and virtual stores is quickly disappearing.
With smartphone tracking systems, it's now easy to track customer behavior within stores. It's also easy is to trace steps left by users from one web site to another and from one social network to another. The availability of data is designed to revolutionize marketing strategies. The traditional patterns are now relegated to the attic to make room for micro-targeted messages. The shopping funnel is completely overwhelmed and has become extremely customized.
The essence of it all is the aggregation of different types of data, whether they're numbers, texts, dates, codes and much more. They are now processed by machine learning algorithms that can predict future scenarios with great accuracy.
Not even the supply chain is spared from this wave of change. It seems that while the discussions about the future of warehouse is going on, Amazon has already thought of something futuristic - the Airborne Fullfillment Center. It's a kind of airship that delivers goods through drones that land directly in front of the customer's home. (Get in-depth information on the role and benefits of Business Intelligence in the retail industry in our FREE ebook: Business Intelligence for Retail)
Chatbots are also starting to encroach on call centers by automating all or almost all customer care activities from being present on multiple instant messaging platforms to providing day-to-day customer support. Finally, we have the Internet-of-Things; refrigerators, ovens and all other household appliances that have become smart and are linked day and night to the internet.
Despite the gigantic flows of data we are observing, they would still need to be managed, monitored and eventualy, exploited. Amazon, Google and other giants of Silicon Valley have been experimenting in this field for years and we all know how these companies have innovated through data.
Meanwhile, in the retail industry, they have an the opportunity to relaunch themselves with a completely new business model. Business Intelligence leads in this area, becoming the paradigm and context from which to draw new methods, strategies and tools. Doing it now is easier as Business Intelligence can integrate data from different sources, whether they're structured data or not, from relational database or NoSQL, Excel spreadsheets or log files. At their core are the robustness and potency of the processes. Platform scalability and security are essences of BI.
Access to data in real time is also becoming an increasing necessity for businesses. Analytics becomes fundamental, whether it is for simple reporting, alert tools or predictive models. Through this, a beneficial cycle is built: data is transformed into information generated by the analytics which then generates new information. This is then reworked, and the cycle goes on.
Finally, the task of Business Intelligence is to enable data to be accessed through new web and mobile applications, enabling management to have access to any form of analytics at any time and from any device.
Seize the moment!
Whatever the situation is, timing is always important. Whether it is being able to take advantage of data availability and re-strategizing your retail business, or finding correlations between seemingly different circumstances, to strategic and operational decisions, timing will be key.
A Business Intelligence approach helps managers to make the best decisions all within the right time. Oh, and of course, blogs of the future too! But for now, as these ideas begin to unfold, take advice from the present and find out all you need to know about Business Intelligence for Retail. Download the full guide now!