Retail Business Intelligence: A Work in Progress

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The rapid shifts in consumer behavior and the proliferation of new channels that are forcing retailers to cope with new data sources, new ways of looking at analytics and new analytics capabilities — combined with new form factors like tablets and smart phones — are upending the well-established discipline of Business Intelligence in retail. The report is based on a survey of 81 qualified retailers.

Key Findings Include:

  • 47% of mega-retailers (over $5B in sales) have had a BI strategy in place for longer than 2 years, vs. 22% of those with revenue under $250 million, and 36% of those with revenues $250-$999 million.
  • 43% of retailers under $250 million in revenue report that they dump data into Excel as their primary method for BI insights. Only 13% of mega-retailers report this, and an even smaller 5% of retailers bringing in between $1-5 billion in revenue.
  • Across the board, Retail Winners (those who outperform their peers in retail sales) provide more insights access to their stakeholders than their peers do, but the biggest differences are closer to the edges of the enterprise: 56% of Winners report access to analytics and insights for line managers vs. 26% of peers, and 52% of Winners report access for store managers vs. 32% of peers.
  • 35% of retailers are budgeting to give their employees mobile access to BI tools and data. What’s fascinating is that Winners make up the smallest portion of this group (only 24% of Retail Winners are budgeting for mobile access, compared to 36% of laggards). Winners appear to be waiting until their BI houses are in order before making it available on mobile devices.

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