Retailers: Is Your Network Ready For Real-Time Analytics?
By guest author, Miya Knights
In our previous articles in this series, we looked at actionable data, how Wi-Fi is driving a connected retail experience, and how to engage customers through technology. In today’s installment, analyst Miya Knights discusses investments needed to make these goals a reality.
The more connected the consumer has become, the more data has become available to retailers to use in their business intelligence programmes. Really, businesses need to be getting to grips with analytics and big data right now.
Early adopters such as Tesco already have a huge head start over non-adopters. But, in our opinion, Internet of Things (IoT) maturity in the retail space is still some time away, so there’s still an opportunity to get the necessary analytics, networking, and integration frameworks in place.
Overcoming technology challenges in retail won’t be easy, though. Business intelligence produces insights that can be actioned in real time. But most retailers simply do not have the level of integration required to access the necessary data from all of their systems. An inability to link existing systems is a significant handicap.
The same problem will affect the additional information generated by automated Wi-Fi tracking – without a way to cross-reference Wi-Fi data with other data sources, the true value will remain unrealized.
There is also the lack of standards to consider. How is the data collected? How can the datasets be linked? Are there proprietary systems that need to be mined? Retailers have plenty of data, but without a way to properly manage and analyse it, they are drowning.
Retailers also need to invest in their IT infrastructure now, so that it is ready for use with emerging technologies. Not only for collecting and storing information, but to support automated actions based on real-time analytics that enhance the customer’s shopping experience.
Ultimately I could see retailers looking to some form of automated execution engine that can act on insights autonomously, adjusting prices based on localised demand, for instance.
In the meantime, technologies like in-store Wi-Fi tracking provide a mechanism to become acquainted with real-time analytics. Like a test run for big data that still yields valuable, actionable insights around store, merchandise, assortment planning, for example.
In our experience, beacons and push can work – at least 35% of customers want this level of interaction with stores. All of the shoppers we have surveyed realize the benefits of technology for improving their experience. Retailers need to deliver these benefits.
In-store technology works both ways. Retailers are also deploying mobile devices to their workers so that they also use real-time insights to improve the customer’s experience. Because ultimately, data is the trigger for everything that is focused on the customer’s experience.
In our next installment, we will hear from analyst Craig Crawford on how leveraging Wi-Fi and data collection helps build customer relationships.
Miya Knights is the Principal Analyst for Planet Retail, a London-based provider of global retail forecasting, trend analysis, shopper insights and market information
All posts in this series: