The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Where’s Real The Value In New KPIs?

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In every benchmark RSR conducts, we ask retailers to identify where they think the corresponding technologies’ value resides. In a store report, this means customer-facing technologies, employee handheld devices, etc.

But in our recent KPIs report – the first of its kind – we didn’t want to just know about interfaces – we also wanted to understand more about the kind of analytics capabilities that retailers prize the most. As figure 1 shows, rules-based analysis is on the way out the door – as is data that is analyzed within the spreadsheet, itself. We, as no doubt many readers will be, were delighted to see these results. However, we are still a long way away from ringing the death knell for the spreadsheet in retail operations: many current and future analytics tools are either built upon – or meant to have a user interface that looks and feels like – a familiar spreadsheet. Data like this, though, is a step in the right direction.

Figure 1: Priorities, Priorities

Source: RSR Research, June 2022

What IS important to retailers as these lower-grade capabilities are phased out? First and foremost, retailers want to make more use of the structured data they can extract from their existing systems. While this may be easier said than done, solutions that can speak intelligently to leveraging the vast amounts of virtually unused data that retailers’ existing systems throw off sounds fantastic. And when it’s done properly, it is.

The critical component to this process is, of course, the purity of the data being generated by legacy systems. If that data is incomplete, it can lead to incomplete decisions. When it is wrong (as it often is), it can lead to decisions that are completely at odds with the brand’s intent.

However, for the purposes of this study, we did not offer our respondents choices centered around improving the trustworthiness of data – we operated in a vacuum. The results from Figures 1 (and 2, upcoming) reveal what capabilities retailers value (and will use) when operating under the assumption that the data required to fuel these technologies is clean. As a result, this analysis gives us a true picture of their view into what’s possible.

And The Band Played On

Figure 2 is a clear insight into how Retail Winners trust in the processes they’ve data-enabled, and it tells a consistent story with all we’ve seen in this report: Winners have put in more work, trust in the work they’ve already done, and they have absolutely no plans to stop anytime soon.

They are betting their brands on this being the way of the future.

Figure 2: Winners Betting The Farm

Source: RSR Research, June 2022

The full report, How Retailers Are Operationalizing Analytics With New KPIs also makes some suggestions for ways all retailers can benefit from Retail Winners’ teachings. After all, winning in retail is not an accident.