In the modern world of retail analytics, it seems that most software vendors either provide flat-file rigid reporting, or deep-dive analytical solutions. The issues with this, is that often rigid reports do not include the information required to answer the ‘business question’ and deep-dive solutions almost require a rocket scientist to operate.
However, the user requirement is somewhere in between. It is crucial that reports are created to answer specific business questions, and then allow a level of flexibility for the user to interact with the data to build a story.
For example, if the business question is in relation to ‘identifying an assortment opportunity’, then the user requires enough flexibility to look for several answers. It is important that analysis can be conducted in a number of different ways:
– Viewing the information at various hierarchy levels, based on the available category segments – category management
– Selecting various time periods to identify trends and patterns.
– Utilizing various data sources to understand performance at the market or specific account.
By providing this level of flexibility it is possible to find key insight that will enable improved category performance, while removing complexity. This will ensure that intelligence can be identified very quickly, or minor interaction performed if more evidence is required to support an appropriate message. A cat can be skinned in many ways.
However, certain retail insights may be located more quickly and proactively. In addition to being able to access information rapidly within a report, market leading solutions will provide a certain key highlight as the data is refreshed. In an ideal world, this highlight would be delivered to the user on an alert basis, ensuring rapid insight without the need to go looking for it. A warning; “your brand is declining 11% in your key retailer account” flashes on your smart phone, directing you to key reports in order for you to find out why and then formulate a resolution.
Speed to market is critical in a rapidly moving industry with a very knowledgeable and demanding customer base.