Retail Analytics: The Captain is training new Big Data Heroes

Captain Dash wants to share with you his insights on how to effectively use retail analytics. Nowadays, there are so many things that can be analyzed and so many names that get tossed around describing these different processes including the term Retail Analytics. So what exactly is Retail Analytics? This concept is rooted on the idea that logistically the process of getting a product from creation to the retailer is at its most efficient at all stages due to extensive data.

However, once the retailer receives this product, the amount of data they have is significantly less accurate and thus the process is much more ineffective. Therefore, Retail Analytics seeks to remedy this by allowing individual store or department managers to have the necessary information needed to efficiently run there store.

In essence, it is the process of gathering customer information that was previously undiscovered to initiate the best practices for an individual store.

These little tips will help you to be more efficient and increase your business. So let's get started: blast off in 3...2...1...

Try it on a Small Scale

Before committing many resources to retail analytics, try it on a small scale to get a feel for it. But, just because you're starting small, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't include all available data when testing out retail analytics. For example, if you have multiple shops, try it with only one of them, but make sure that you use all the data.


Include all possible data in your analysis starting from day one. Breaking the barriers that might exist within your data from the beginning is an indispensable asset for every company. This allows you to compare datasets across at least two dimensions from the onset of your implementation.

Think Big

Don't ever believe that you have too much data- one never have too much data. Yes, data is increasing, but ways and technologies to process this information are also increasing. This means you still have the capability to analyze all the data. Think specifically of systems that cope with big data; NoSQL and Hadoop give you the chance to have an agile system.

Go Outside the Box

Variable data shouldn't be kept within one company. Rather, put your business in to context; share it, exchange it, link it with suppliers and maybe even customers. Offering up your data to other individuals will lead to an open data revolution resulting in the creation of valuable new services.

Mix Datasets

Exogenous factors play a key role. Internal factors are not enough to explain customers' behaviors. Purchasing decisions are also driven- sometimes up to 45%- by exogenous factors like weather conditions or traffic patterns. Mixing this data with internal information will reveal insights like never before that will benefit your company.

Make your Interface and Data-visualizations sexy

Data is sexy when the interface is fancy. Ask for professional tools that are as easy to use as personal ones. Smart data-visualizations are the new way to offer a good experience to people in exploring, understanding, and showing their data. Machismo isn't a part of computing- agile technology and systems are, and they exist. So use those!

Hire Data Superstars

Believe in scientists ability to improve your ROI in the short-term. They can do for your sales what commercials can't! Data scientists are the next superstars employees. They are rare but essential and change the landscape of your shops in a few seconds through good insights.

Data for Every Company

Not a big company, not a problem. Retail analytics shouldn't just be a concern for multinationals. New technologies and agile systems can also give small businesses the opportunity to increase their sales. Simple analytics are easy to get without any integrations while visualization can play a vital role in delivering data manipulation abilities to those without direct programming or statistical skills. There is no longer a need for large investment costs, nor are there skill barriers. Now, every business can benefit from analytics.

Data for everybody

Don't reserve the opportunity to see solutions to only executives; instead, offer everyone in the company from top management to cashiers the possibility of visualizing information. Becoming a data-driven organization is about fostering a better feeling for data among all employees. Use the intelligence of everyone in your organization to improve your business. Soon it won't be possible to begin one's day without looking at their analytics.

Back to Commerce

Stop thinking that optimization processes are reserved to only logistics. Instead of doing inefficient and expensive special orders use these new tools to bring optimization into the marketing world. Become traders once again- make real time and accurate offers. The aim of your business is to have more business at the end of the day- so, optimize daily prices and offers via the new insights and succeed in this goal!

Make it mobile

Don't buy hardware devices when every customer already has one in their pocket. Catch digital data from the real world with cell phones. By using it accurately, you will know the space and the attendance of your customers in a shop via sensors. Make sure that you use contactless devices embedded in phones from the beginning.

Connected Business is Born

E-commerce is dead  but connected commerce is just being born and long may it live! Business is now cross channelled- no purchase is exclusively online or offline. People are constantly getting feedback from friends on Facebook and reading review on specialized blogs. But, people also still go into shops so they can touch a product and see it with their own eyes. So, make sure that the activity on your company's online services isn't trapped between marketing and IT departments.

Privacy Policy

Don't try and play with a customer's data with ought giving them some transparency; give people access to data that you have about them. Take advantage of it to promote consumption but also show them your good will towards privacy policies and practices.

Share the benefits

Don't look only at your ROI. Share the benefits from your data analysis with your customers. This will not only improve your ROI but also the customer experience. People tolerate the increase of information held by companies as long as it saves the time, earns them money, or gives them a beter service.

I hope that all of these tips have shown you the importance of retail analytics and how it can help your business succeed. I definitely encourage you to implement some, if not all, of these ideas into your business to improve your sales. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask!

As always,

The Captain

PS:My comics on this topic is here: Retail Analytics by CaptainDash