The retailers guide to data discovery

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1 The retailers guide to data discovery How smart retailers are using visual data discovery to search for actionable insights that boost profits and help them understand their customers next move quicker than the competition.

2 2 Table of Contents Introduction 3 The search for customers, products and profit 3 Swamped by data but still seeking insight? 4 Harnessing big data 4 Overcoming data silos 5 Eradicating the time warp 5 Visual Data Discovery: more than a pretty face for retail intelligence 6 The freedom to search and explore 6 Accelerating discoveries through cool, clear visuals 7 Increasing efficiency and enhancing ROI 8 Applications of visual data discovery tools in retail environments 9 Store Operations 9 Sales Channel Analysis 9 Customer Behaviour Analysis 10 Merchandise Management 10 Supply chain analytics 11 NeutrinoBI visual data discovery powered by freeform search 12

3 3 Introduction In the fast paced, rapidly changing and highly competitive retail sector, today s smart retailers rely on business insight in order to attract customers and operate more efficiently to increase revenue and profitability. Data is the heart-beat of this insight but extracting the most valuable data from multiple sources and turning it into actionable information is a major challenge. Getting answers to today s burning questions and informing the right person in time to help them make the right decisions has, until now, been almost impossible. To overcome this challenge, retailers are increasingly turning to Visual Data Discovery tools as a key component of their toolkit. Complementing existing BI solutions, these self-service BI tools enable line of business decision makers in both store-front and headquarters to explore, discover and share realtime insight. In this paper we will explain the benefits that data discovery can bring to a range of retail applications. We will also introduce you to NeutrinoBI - a new generation of visual data discovery tool that is powered by freeform, natural language search that makes data discovery faster, more intuitive, and more interactive for retailers in every major retail segment, including food, department stores, discount stores, speciality, electronics, pharmacy, category specialists and home improvement retailers. The search for customers, products and profit Since 2008, the retail sector has been hit by three challenges: A global recession has zapped consumer confidence so customers are spending less Competition within the retail sector is fiercer than ever. Retailers are focused on finding new ways to differentiate their outlets, products and overall customer experience to appeal to traditional and new customer bases. The saturation of home markets means that many retailers are turning to emerging overseas markets. Whilst this globalisation provides new revenue opportunities it results in new pools of suppliers, customers, systems and data that only adds to the complexity of the business. The economics of rents and balance-sheets haven t adjusted to account for reduced consumer spend so profits have been hit The retail industry has always relied on operational efficiency to support growth and profitability, but now more than ever this is a key factor. Retailers now have a choice of multiple channels through which to sell their products, and balancing store-front with online operations requires continual adjustment to forecasts, products and service offerings. Globalisation is also a key component of today s supply-chain with complications that include duties, customs and compliance with international regulations.

4 4 Sales channels have diversified whilst consumer knowledge has increased significantly so there s more competition for custom The diversification of retail sales channels, whilst creating an opportunity for growth and expansion into new markets, adds significant complexity to the retail landscape. Multi-channel retailing creates a vast array of potential customer interactions in-store, on-line, via TV shopping networks, direct mail and even airport retail. Consumers can research products through one channel and make a purchase through another so understanding this behaviour is critical to multi-channel success and with the proliferation of online retail (e-tail), consumers are more powerful and discerning than ever before. There is little that individual retailers can do to impact the global economy, however it is well within the power of organisations of all sizes to keep pace with a constantly changing environment in order to attract customers, stay competitive and remain viable. Swamped by data but still seeking insight? Faced with the challenges outlined in the previous section, there is no disputing that Business Intelligence is critical to retailers who handle immense amounts of information relating to supply chains, to sales information, to store operations and everything in between. As a retailer, you will have invested heavily in BI platforms already, with a range of data warehouses, databases and applications such as ERP, CRM, HR and financial systems. With this mountain of data at your disposal, identifying the most valuable information can be extremely difficult. Even more of a challenge is the ability to access specific data when you need it, get it delivered in the right way, and at the right time to impact critical decision making. To really derive value from their Business Intelligence, retailers must overcome a number of BI obstacles. Harnessing big data Over the past few years we have seen leading digital e-tailers employ big data analytics to create a superlative experience for their users, and increasingly, multi-channel retailers are looking to follow suit. The reason is simple; the decision-making journey of today s empowered customers is increasingly collaborative and interactive: 70% of customers consult online user reviews before purchasing online or in store - there are over 5 million customer reviews on amazon.com alone 65% of in-store luxury purchases are influenced by a digital experience, while 60% of online luxury purchases are influenced by the in-store experience 44% of mobile users check prices while they are in-store 60% of consumers following a brand on Facebook are looking for offers and coupons Source: McKinsey s Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum, 2013

5 5 Retailers need to stay ahead of consumer demands and insight is critical for innovation of product offerings, pricing and promotion, channel strategy, store concepts and store locations. To do this requires tools that can derive appropriate, timely information from a range of data types as illustrated in figure 1. Figure 1. Analysing DATA DISCOVERY structured and semistructured data enables retailers to derive new insights NAME ADDRESS LIKE AMOUNT DATE OF BIRTH TWEET TRANSACTIONS LOYALTY POINTS PRODUCT REVIEW Structured data Semi & unstructured data Overcoming data silos Retail data easily reaches multiple terabytes when considering a data ecosystem that stretches across stores and headquarters. This data is frequently constrained by silos not just in terms of the location of data in different databases or data warehouses, but also by diverse applications such as ERP, CRM, financial systems and HR systems see figure 2. In addition to system and application silos, many business users rely on spreadsheets for their own analysis and whilst they could be valuable to a wider audience, these Excel islands remain distinct from the corporate business intelligence set. To get a more complete picture of the retail landscape requires these data sources to be readily and easily integrated into a virtual data pool providing visibility and the potential to explore data associations that may otherwise be hidden and untapped. In addition, a retailer will have people in different locations that need to use this information for a variety of purposes from simple consumption of dashboards, to the ability to search, explore and discover new trends. Increased globalization further complicates the data silo challenge with a growing and distributed set of operational information systems to monitor and manage. Eradicating the time warp Traditional business intelligence tools excel in analysing and reporting information in a set structure at a given time. But all too often these reports are stale by the time they are published, and amending the reporting or adding in a new piece of data is likely to add to the IT workload and result in further delay so managers frequently complain of data fatigue.

6 6 Research studies show that 75% of Business Managers are facing shrinking decision windows so to make the most of the opportunities available, today s retailers are seeking real time data for agile business decision-making. For example, with the ability to monitor the results of a promotion minute-byminute retailers can make informed adjustments that immediately and significantly impact on revenue and the profitability of the initiative. Comparing Traditional BI with Visual Data Discovery Tools Traditional BI Reporting business managers are often involved in scoping the reports, but this style of reporting is predominantly controlled, driven, and delivered by corporate IT. In many cases only static views of data are available and any changes or enhancements must be made via the IT organisation. VS Visual Data Discovery business users are provided with rich, highly interactive visual tools that speed up the time to insight by allowing them to manipulate and explore information directly. Although corporate IT is still involved, especially in the initial stage of data mapping, the responsibility for searching, creating and accessing different views of the data falls upon the business community. Source: Aberdeen Group 2012: Self-service BI through Data Discovery and Visualization Visual Data Discovery: more than a pretty face for retail intelligence According to Gartner, visual data discovery tools are the fastest growing segment within the BI & Analytics toolkit: supporting business agility through self-service BI. The freedom to search and explore The biggest distinction between traditional business query tools and visual data discovery tools is the degree of business user autonomy they enable. Whilst all data discovery tools are designed to enable users to explore data from multiple data sources and a variety of different platforms, tools vary in degrees of usability. The NeutrinoBI visual data discovery tool has been designed from the outset to be the most intuitive tool for business users. Powered by a freeform, natural language search engine, individuals are able to simply type in a question to retrieve a set of relevant, ranked, visual results relating to their search in a matter of seconds. So users can ask today s question to get today s answers.

7 7 Exploring data is simple. Users can drill down to the underlying data tables, visually combine graphs into one, add calculations, additional sources such as local Excel spreadsheets, and create their own dashboard reports to publish and share with the wider organisation. Type a question to retrieve a set of relevant, ranked, visual results in a matter of seconds. Accelerating discoveries through cool, clear visuals According to a TDWI survey 1, business users spend two-thirds of their time analysing data in tabular versus chart form. Whilst this is an appropriate method for precisely analysing stock availability, a more innovative visual format is required to help with identifying purchase patterns, consumer trends, and supply-chain anomalies. Research has shown that when data is represented graphically, we use less cognitive resources to make a decision and retain information better. So the graphs provided by Visual Data Discovery tools are more than just pretty or engaging; it s about speeding up the time to insight. What s more, visual data discovery tools are now available across platforms including desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone to enable real-time insight anytime and anywhere - no matter how geographically dispersed your organisation. 1 The Data Warehousing Institute - Visual Reporting and Analysis: Seeing is Knowing

8 8 Identify purchase patterns, consumer trends, and supplychain anomalies with a range of interactive visualizations. Increasing efficiency and enhancing ROI A study by Aberdeen Group in found that on average, organisations using visual data discovery tools were able to support 65% more BI users for every full-time equivalent employee involved in the implementation of BI projects. Empowering users with self-service data discovery capability frees IT staff from the steady stream of requests to tailor reports, modify dashboards and provide ad-hoc information enabling them to focus on the strategic BI infrastructure. The Aberdeen Group Survey also reports that companies with visual data discovery tools are more agile: In 92% of cases, managers are able to find the information they need, when they need it It only takes 2 days to design and build a new dashboard, compared with 39 days for standard BI tools They can achieve ROI in less than half the time of traditional BI projects Search, discover, and share actionable insights in just under ten minutes without requesting help from IT. 2 Aberdeen Group Agile or Fragile? Your Analytics, your choice

9 9 Applications of visual data discovery tools in retail environments Retailers can use visual data discovery tools such as NeutrinoBI in many ways, delivering insight across multiple applications in both retail storefront and headquarter environments and here are a few examples: (For more examples refer to the dashboard gallery available at: data discovery) Store Operations Using visual data discovery tools Store Managers, Regional Managers and Sales Directors can directly analyse sales, promotion, inventory and store by store scorecard data. Receiving real-time dashboard insight of KPI performance enables users to search and explore for additional insight into anomalies and spikes. The example dashboard below shows a visual scorecard of sales per square meter when comparing a number of stores and branches. Business benefit: store managers can access and explore information in time to make actionable decisions that optimise the layout, product mix, resource efficiency and productivity of each store. Sales Channel Analysis Marketing and Sales Managers may wish to contrast online e-tail with in-store sales or compare different reseller outlets to determine which selling-motions, products and promotions work best for different customers purchase patterns. The dashboard below contrasts online sales with in-store sales of digital cameras.

10 10 Business Benefit: Marketing and Sales Managers can react quickly to capitalise on changes in trends and purchase patterns. Customer Behaviour Analysis By integrating multiple BI sources into one virtual pool of data, retailers have the ability to track and analyse consumer behaviour in relation to the environment, product, service and price of sales. This in turn opens the way to delivering individual customer experiences and the ability to guide consumers to cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Business Benefit: Business analysts can visualize the insight needed to attract new customers or grow the existing customer base. Merchandise Management Retailers can gain greater insight into the seasonality of products, effectiveness of promotions, placement and price through analysis of sales and customer data. The dashboard below shows the average transactional price for digital cameras over time, and could be used to evaluate promotion effectiveness by item, category, geography and reseller.

11 11 Business Benefit: Buyers can monitor and test all aspects of the merchandising process including returns, performance analysis, financial planning and space allocation. Supply Chain Analytics Analysis of sales and inventory data means you can improve purchasing and product management to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. The dashboard below provides real-time insight into stock availability and highlights potential risks. Business Benefit: Supply Chain Managers can monitor inventory levels, optimize stock, reduce shortages and lower costs by analysing stock movement through warehouses and stores.

12 12 NeutrinoBI visual data discovery powered by freeform search NeutrinoBI is the first of a new generation of Visual Data Discovery tools that enhances self-service agility with its revolutionary freeform, natural language search capability. NeutrinoBI is the most intuitive and interactive data discovery tool available and has been developed with IT Managers and super fast implementation in mind. The solution is consistently deployed in less than a week so your team can immediately start to address your BI challenges. NeutrinoBI is available to use on your desktop, via a wide range of mobile devices and as a cloud-based self-service BI solution. With our unified interface, the user experience is exactly the same - no matter how the solution is delivered. So from Store Managers and Sales Directors, to Buyers and Marketing, Product and Supply Chain Heads, using NeutrinoBI your team can harness and examine data from disparate sources in retail storefronts and headquarter environments - and turn it into actionable real-time insight. It s the BI advantage retailers have been waiting for To discuss the benefits of visual data discovery in the retail environment in more detail contact Andrew Watson at NeutrinoBI: Discover more.faster. Discover more about NeutrinoBI, call +44 (0) or

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