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The Retail Market Outlook

06 September 2012

Retail growth through multi-channel endeavours and the tailoring of product lines to target different consumer niches is driving significant complication into the way retailers are operating.

Retail growth through multi-channel endeavours and the tailoring of product lines to target different consumer niches is driving significant complication into the way retailers are operating. Intelligence systems are being asked to support retailers navigate the complexity of the organisation, but ensuring information is delivered to the right principals to make key decisions.

Moving forward, retailers must try to harness an incorporated methodology of how the different parts of the business are performing. A good example of this is the desire to achieve true, reflective persona of a customer, enabling the next-generation retailer to engage with their customers’ base far more effectively. All done by making data far more visible.

Information must be embedded within the actual business processes, in a form that makes sense to the decision maker and actionable by any of the team. Sometimes, automating responses that don’t even necessitate intervention can save vital team resources. Leading retailers are thinking not just strategically, but also holistically when considering change to reflect moving markets. Merchandising, promotions and advertising can be tailored to provide timely, targeted and relevant offers; crucial in a market susceptible to transient movements and trends. But the tools retailers are using to manage their business in the face of this fastpaced complexity are proving less a source of insight and more one of frustration. Why is this? Simple: retailers still aren’t getting the insight and information they need.

In a recent research survey targeting the retail industry, retailers highlighted an ongoing frustration across most departments. A lack of business insight and inadequate reporting functionality from existing internal business intelligence systems was the main frustration to key decision makers. The explanation of such disappointment of data was not due to a lack of previous investment in BI, or a lack of leading BI tools being deployed. Neither was it a lack of sophistication of existing systems. BI products themselves that are failing here, but rather their deployment and subsequent usage that are failing to bridge the gaps in retailers’ knowledge and ability to keep pace with business demand.

Addressing the challenges around successful BI deployment, implementation and integration stands at the very essence to achieving the business agility retailers crave so highly.

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