Technological progress is transforming all the industries we know of, and retail is no exception. Digital transformation in retail, the so called retail 4.0, is a process with many opportunities. On one hand, this is one of the sectors that has undergone major changes, on the other, it is also one of those with the greatest potential to offer customers innovative and distinct services, as well as establish closer relations with these.
In a global and highly competitive scenario, retailers have the ongoing challenge of keeping pace with market developments and keeping up-to-date of changes, anticipating possible developments, delivering what customers are looking for at a fair price, and meeting the needs and expectations of customers.
This environment of change also brought to retail a growing consumer interest in the digital channel, leading to the implementation of an omni-channel strategy, which increased exponentially the volume of data generated.
It is, therefore, urgently necessary to continue to focus on the revitalization and modernization of this sector in order to respond more and more to the needs of each consumer. Knowing their habits and tastes, understanding what they think and what they want, knowing their buying and consuming process, when, where and what, are key questions these days that become essential to focus their supply and meet the needs of the consumer.
One of the biggest challenges of retail is the perfect understanding of the consumer and for that, it is essential to analyse and interpret all the available information about the same. And it is here that the challenge is even greater, as the client's motivations, tendencies, needs and expectations are constantly changing. Therefore, the key to success lies in the ability to forecast and monitor these changes, as well as in the satisfaction of increasingly demanding customers, efficient operations management and a well-matched supply and distribution chain.
Given this, the data are nowadays, and increasingly, a fundamental tool that, when well worked, makes us arrive at extremely significant information on which strategy we must follow. While most retailers already have such data in their information systems ecosystem, the key is how we access and work on this information, how we organize it, how we derive value and insights from all of that data.
Access to this information should be simplified. It is necessary to obtain a centralized and unique view of data coming from different sources, so that this whole process facilitates the day-to-day of the Organizations, without waiting endless reports and, in this way, contribute to a faster, simple and well-sustained decision making.
The omni-channel reality, the expectation of quick deliveries by the company, rapid changes in consumer behaviour, the increasing number of purchases on digital platforms and the consequent increase in the amount of data, poses numerous challenges to the logistics management of retailers. And to overcome them, it is necessary to create an infrastructure network that is agile and ready to deliver to the client what he wants, where and when he wants to.
On the other hand, operational efficiency and cost reduction in the value chain also play a key role in the retail sector. As demand for the best quality / price ratio is imperative in the consumer's mind, making operational efficiency a determining factor in the competitiveness of companies.
Analytics and Big Data solutions are essential for Organizations and they offer enormous advantages because they allow, for example, to identify the products with the highest number of sales by region, the type of customer and their behaviour, to analyse the profitability by product , geographic area, consumer clusters, while allowing the individual and real-time monitoring of the various sales and marketing campaigns, maximizing the potential of loyalty programs, reducing operational costs, as well as optimizing the processes of sales management.
Thus, Analytics solutions will optimize your entire management by enabling the development and implementation of more assertive, data-driven strategies, with a permanent focus on business growth. By ensuring, on one hand, an easier monitoring of changes in the sector, which enables Organizations to make faster and more efficient decisions and, on the other, to offer their customers the products they want at the right time and at a competitive price, positioning itself at the forefront of retail.
- Opinion article published in Grande Consumo Magazine – September/October, 2018