Modern Retail Analytics: Taking Marketers From Insights to Action

One of the biggest buzzwords in all of business today is “analytics.” The term is often used generically, when it can actually mean different things to people depending on someone’s role or industry, or even, their company’s size. The consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industries are prime examples.

For decades, the term “retail analytics” has been synonymous with valuable insights. Until recently though, these insights have been largely out of reach for the majority of small and emerging CPG brands lacking the budgets and timelines for traditional retail analytics. But as the retail market has evolved, so too has technology. The result has empowered small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like never before and signaled the retail industry is moving from insights toward action.

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Retail Analytics to Date

Retail analytics is traditionally defined as the process of providing analytical data to inform vital sales, marketing and procurement decisions. The process is designed to uncover a treasure trove of insights around inventory levels, supply chain movement, consumer demand, sales and more. Marketers, in particular, love retail analytics because of the value it provides them around supply, demand and consumers.

To date, retail analytics has been a very linear process. A business identifies a need for answers or insight somewhere in its business operations. Perhaps the company needs help with its pricing strategy because it keeps losing to the competition. Or, maybe the company wants to change up its product mix to appeal to more consumers. If the business has the resources and budget to commission a one-time analytics project, it partners with one of the storied analytics companies. After meeting and discussing data structure and formatting, analysts go away, dive into the data model, analyze it and come back to present the findings. The company then gets a copy of the presentation and has to decide whether to execute the recommendations.

Modern Retail Analytics

Insights that drive growth are every marketer’s dream. Until recently though, most SMBs haven’t been able to afford traditional retail analytics.

Thankfully for marketers, retail analytics has evolved. Today, technology exists specifically designed for these emerging brands, including those in the food, beauty, pet, alcoholic and beverage industries. With the right retail analytics platform, these SMBs can now access their retail data anytime, anywhere, exactly when they need it. The data is self-service, always-on, always-measuring and embedded into their software tools and business processes, so everyone has access to it.

What’s more, modern retail analytics recommends actions companies should take and quantifies the impacts of those suggestions for marketers. A proper retail analytics platform should also be equipped to parse its recommendations – pricing, promotions, new markets or assortments – down to the item level.

This real-time data is vital for SMBs to grow their sales and win in the marketplace. Annually, the CPG market does more than $900 billion in retail sales and SMBs account for over half of that. But within the first year, nearly a quarter of new items can get delisted in a competitive market. Simply put, these companies are evolving faster and their stakes are higher. A retail analytics platform provides the simplified, actionable data intelligence that is essential for their survival.

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Retail Analytics of the Future

Modern retail analytics allows marketers to tap into a cycle of constant iteration, continuous learning and quick decision-making. Marketers today no longer have to wait for ad hoc analytics projects to gain valuable insights. Nor do they have to rely on analysts to sort through and make sense of mountains of complexity. Instead, companies can put technology to work to streamline their retail data, mine it for them and take the guesswork out of it.

Going forward, retail analytics will do even more. In the future, mining information will no longer be a step in the retail analytics process because it will be done automatically. Artificial intelligence chatbots will also deliver even smarter insights and recommendations that are customized to marketers as they work in their respective retail analytics platforms.

A More Level Playing Field

Retail analytics has come a long way in a short time, evening out the competitive playing field for SMBs and giving them long-awaited insights to win customers, loyalty and shelf space. With the right retail analytics platform, marketers can feel confident about the actions they take at each retailer. It’s high time the retail industry moves beyond the appeal of retail analytics insights and embraces the recommended actions to power business growth, across the board.

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