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Retail: getting the timing right with analytics

Retail: getting the timing right with analytics

Retail has come a long way since brick-and-mortar stores, with consumers today expecting far more from their shopping experience. They’ve got a definite need for speed! ? Seamless integrations between phones, laptops, and the events people attend or ads they click have given rise to many exciting new ways to shop. 

 

But for retailers competing for every consumer buck, it’s all about getting the timing right. The right product to the right customer at the right time, which is precisely why retail analytics has proven so powerful and transformative in the industry. 

 

The possibilities for retailers to harness their data analytics potential is phenomenal. From providing a seamless experience of your brand to making the most of major shopping paydays like Black Friday and Christmas, anything is possible IF you have the right tools…

 

Discovering retail dashboards 

 

Anyone claiming that dashboards have met their untimely death is probably looking to click-bait, since dashboards are not dead, irrelevant nor broken. On the contrary, their power to provide a real-time snapshot of your business at a glance has no better substitute. 

 

However, an effective retail analytics dashboard has to be tailored to the needs of its user. For example, a sales manager should have a different dashboard from a marketing head as they each track different KPIs. And that’s really the secret to a well-designed dashboard, don’t try to fit everything in a single one.  

 

Of course, dashboards are not the start and finish of analytics in retail. Instead, take them for what they are, similar to the landing page of a website—a launching point for further data discovery. That’s also why dashboards should be just one of the solutions in a business’ analytics toolbox.  

 

In the Vizlib product suite for Qlik Sense, users can easily create powerful, customised dashboards with Vizlib Library.  And they don’t need any coding skills. 

 

Simple, user-friendly data analytics solutions will empower more retail users to work with data. From highlighting KPIs to activity heatmaps and tooltips, the options for visualisation within dashboards are also constantly evolving. 

 

And those new to engaging with data often learn quicker when there’s more visualisation. Vizlib Tiles, a new addition to Vizlib Self Service, enables users to create customised, responsive tile-style summaries that are easy to understand and support their data literacy journey. Tiles are a great way to visualise a retail product range, KPIs or a list of employees.

 

Vizlib Tiles in combo with Vizlib Slider provides a quick glimpse at how interest rates affect mortgage calculations

 

Spotting the patterns in your retail data

 

Consumer behaviour used to follow some predictable patterns. Clothing sales peaked after payday, like alcohol on weekends, and more travel was expected on public holidays and over Christmas.

 

Of course, all that was thrown on its head after COVID-19, starting a wave of less predictable consumption patterns that we expect to last under the ‘new normal’. Across all verticals, forecasting using historical data post-COVID-19 has meant a change in approach, which also applies when looking for meaningful patterns in your data. 

 

Merging different data sources into a single platform allows users to harness data from different sources and systems more effectively. For example, by analysing wider combinations of retail data across different categories, suppliers, regions and periods, retailers can identify patterns and insights that wouldn’t necessarily be uncovered with the data on its own, and seek answers to improve their processes.

 

Forecasting monthly sales more accurately with Vizlib’s Advanced Analytics Scenario Analysis 

Forecasting in Qlik Sense

Saving time with a single source of truth 

 

Once store managers and head office teams get comfortable applying analytics to their day-to-day operations, a common pain point that surfaces is version control. As sales reports and restocking plans circulate, keeping track of the latest version of your spreadsheets could easily turn into a game of Chinese whispers. 

 

Not only is version control precarious, but it can consume valuable time looking for the right report. 

 

Data analytics should enable business users to work from a single source of truth. And that’s why solutions such as Vizlib’s writeback capabilities are so powerful – empowering users to – as it says on the tin – write back their data within Qlik Sense. This eliminates version duplicates and the need for manual input. On top of that, you’re able to monitor who’s made any changes, when, to what apps and specifically in which objects.

 

It’s easy to set up an audit trail with Vizlib’s writeback capabilities for Qlik Sense

 

Understanding the lifespan of your data 

 

We get it, it’s data and not tomatoes, but even data can go off. Realising that your historical data under the pandemic is no longer relevant to your sales forecast is one example. The recent paradigm shifts in consumer behaviour is another. 

 

Operating in this rapidly changing environment requires retailers to become more agile. Whether that’s having the capacity to deliver a product within hours of purchase or to seamlessly restock in response to a successful marketing campaign, harnessing multiple inflows of real-time data is what enables retailers to act now, and not later. 

 

Regular customer surveys are another crucial way for retailers to check in and keep in touch with consumer needs. As lockdown rules and BAU can change overnight, all businesses and especially retailers are investing in big data analytics to unlock greater insights and increase business value. One practical solution is Vizlib Input Form, which integrates with 3rd party software, such as Survey Monkey or Slack, to capture survey information where the data is and deliver additional value.

 

Perform a quick sales performance review by inputting data directly in Qlik Sense with Vizlib Input Form

 

Getting your retail analytics right

 

The more retailers adopt a data-driven strategy, the more valuable their data becomes. Like finding the right prescription glasses, it’s an essential lens for looking at your business. 

 

That’s where analytics solutions that offer an intuitive and low-code approach play an essential role—empowering users of all skill levels to lead with data.

 

In retail, that means using data to become more strategic and customer-centric. And the industry can then rise to meet the ever-changing demands of these customers, at the right time. In other words, fulfil the customers ‘need for speed’.

 

 

 

Value-added extensions for Qlik Sense

 

 

 

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