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Retail business intelligence

How business intelligence has transformed the UK retail sector

Data is transforming how people in retail do business. This sector, more than others, faces challenges that demand innovative solutions that keep their people agile. One of those challenges is delivering a unique, tailored customer experience. Connecting customers from an instore to online experience, and connecting data and IT teams to marketing is vital to give a complete view of the customer.

 

GDPR and its impact on retail

Ownership of data is affecting all sectors, but with the arrival of GDPR in 2018 retailers need to act now to sure up their databases and information security practices. With liability sitting at board level, now is the time to develop policies and processes, ready for the 2018 change. Many IT teams may not be confident enough to initiate change, or lack understanding of how long they can hold and protect customer data for. With multiple layers of access to data, and multiple stakeholders, owning and developing a policy for GDPR is a complex process. Before any business acts upon its data, that data must be fairly, securely owned and tracked. How recent and relevant is your data? GDPR could be an excellent time for a data cleanse, refresh and rethink. Ricoh can provide support for retail leaders in managing information security,  to find out more about this click here.

 

IT and marketing join forces

The IT department plays a vital role within retail, by using data to show a 360-degree view of customer behaviour, and using this to inform business-wide changes. IT can also provide vital insights to shape marketing decisions, so in retail these two departments must work together closely. As marketing becomes more vital in driving new business, IT leaders should be working closely with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). For example, with the availability of augmented reality to the public, instore experiences should be driven by technology, customised offers and marketing that delivers to the customer directly.

 

Data and stock

Smart retailers are using data for more than just marketing. For example, we have helped UK wine distributors harness data for business intelligence. This helps them track where consumption is happening and then act on this to redirect stock across their retailer customers. This reduces costly imbalances in the supply chain. Using data to track and inform stock choices is another great example of how IT can be on the front foot of retail, both in respect to marketing but also by providing insights that shape business transformation.

 

The whole customer journey

Business intelligence in retail serves a vital role in informing marketing and supply chains, but perhaps the most important function is to capture the whole customer journey. These insights already lie within the data held internally. Retail leaders must understand patterns of customer behaviour, by region, demographic and season. Data shows where and when customers make decisions, buying patterns and product insights that should inform leadership decisions about stock, sales, and backend systems. In short, data maps the customer journey, and leadership need to listen carefully to this, in order to stay competitive in a complex market.

 

Whether you need support in owning a new strategy to ensure GDPR compliance, or would like more actionable insights into your data, Ricoh’s expert retail ITS team can help. Get in touch with us today.

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