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Business Intelligence / Data / Analytics

In order to be successful in today’s omnichannel retail marketplace, merchants must collect information from numerous internal and external sources, then analyze that data. New solutions can help to optimize incoming data in order to deliver the business intelligence and analytics needed to move retail businesses successfully into the future. This section offers feature articles, special reports, industry viewpoints and the latest news to help retailers make sense out of the growing influx of information.

Will Macy's AI-Powered Mobile App Be Friendly Tech — Or The Terminator? Featured

There's no question IBM's Watson is smart. After all, it beat the pants off the best-of-the-best Jeopardy contestants. But is it smart enough — and flexible enough — to help a Macy's customer find the perfect dress for her daughter's wedding? That's one of the things the retailer is trying to discover with its 10-store test of a mobile web tool that connects shoppers with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform. "Macy's On Call" taps IBM Watson, via the Satisfi intelligent engagement platform, allowing customers to input natural language questions about each participating store's assortment, services and facilities.

Fashion Metric Virtual Sizer Collects Data For Apparel Retailers

Fashion Metric has released a solution designed to address the potential inaccuracies and reliability issues that come with online sizing. The Virtual Sizer platform deploys artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to: Predict more than 50 body measurements based on data points consumers are likely to know by heart (e.g. height, weight, bra size, shoe size), rather than requiring users to measure their waist, inseam or neck with a tape measure;

Reinventing Retail: Improving The Customer Experience Through Application Intelligence

The retail industry is in the midst of digital transformation. Retailers must utilize innovative technologies in order to stay ahead of their competition. However, in this technological ‘rat race,’ simply providing web and mobile apps that enable e-Commerce and m-Commerce is no longer enough to ensure business success. Instead, competitive advantage hinges on the quality of the customer experience delivered by those apps, across all digital channels. Today’s savvy customers demand a seamless, personalized and convenient experience when using a mobile app or a web site. They also expect this experience in-store. A lack of focus in these areas puts customer satisfaction at risk, meaning lower conversion rates, revenue, profitability and, over time, loss of brand credibility.

Convenience Economy Fuels Global Estate Sale Segment At EBTH: Exclusive CEO Interview Featured

Every retail segment can benefit from a more convenient way to purchase. That was part of the premise behind the development of EBTH (Everything But The House) back in 2008. Fast forward a few years: with 123% year-over-year growth and $30.1 million in sales in 2015, EBTH is resonating with a global audience, according to Andy Nielsen, President and CEO, EBTH. Recently I had the chance to chat with Andy to find out more about the challenges of building a strong, Internet-based global company. He also shares insights for other entrepreneurs and retailers working to grow their businesses.

UK Startup Bridges Store And Mobile With Real-Time Inventory Data

  • Published in News Briefs
Although all Brexit-related news continues to stay top-of-mind for UK retailers and consumers, one startup is going full speed ahead to ensure that local stores throughout the nation can continue to connect with shoppers. Retail tech startup NearSt is aiming to bridge the in-store and mobile experiences with the launch of its NearLive platform, as well as its web site and mobile app. The platform, which has already partnered with local bookstores in London, is expanding its retail partnerships to more sellers including consumer electronics, DIY goods, health and beauty products, sportswear, stationery and gift shop services.

Flipping The Model: Successful Retailers Tailor Campaigns To Each Customer's Needs

With 2016 already halfway over, retail marketers are deep into their 2016 campaigns intended to acquire and retain customers, drive sales and improve overall customer loyalty. But what are marketers doing differently to make 2016 better than 2015? Last year, the Commerce Department recorded only a 2.1% increase in retail sales (excluding automotive) over 2014 — marking the worst such performance since 20091 and a far cry from the 4.1% increase that the NRF projected2. If retailers haven’t changed the way they approach marketing, are we in for more of the same? Most retail marketing today is periodic and campaign-based, driven by the retailer’s needs at a single point in time, whether those be building promotions around holiday or seasonal sales opportunities, launching new products, reducing inventories or pursuing other initiatives. In general, retailers cannot expect periodic campaigns that cast a wide net to generate above-average sales. Ask any marketer whether…

Infor Buying Spree Continues With Starmount Acquisition

Less than a month after buying analytics solutions provider Predictix, Infor has announced plans to acquire Starmount, a manufacturer of in-store systems including POS, mobile commerce and inventory management. The acquisition will help Infor deliver its CloudSuite Retail suite of cloud-based enterprise applications in support of "converged commerce," which is designed to provide retailers with a single selling system for all consumer interactions. After forming its Infor Retail business unit in summer 2015, Infor:

4 (Surprisingly Human) Mobile Advertising Tactics For Driving Foot Traffic To Your Retail Location

With retail browsing rapidly shifting to mobile, the choice facing retailers is simple and stark: adapt and reap the benefits, or don’t and suffer the consequences. People now spend more digital media time on their mobile phones than they do on desktop computers. For retailers, that could be a good thing. Mobile phones afford immediate and intimate communication that can help marketers achieve impressive, and specific, results. Marketers use mobile advertising to drive mobile purchases and other digital KPIs, but they can also use it to drive people to brick-and-mortar locations, and with growing effectiveness. Sophisticated technology facilitates mobile targeting based on location, time of day, behavioral profiles and even intent. But no matter how cutting-edge your approach, you’ll gain the best results if you bear in mind an important advertising best practice: Be human.

Three Ways to Increase Private-Label Profitability With Channel Data Management

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that only 7.8% of total U.S. Q1 2016 retail sales came from e-Commerce. This percentage challenges e-retailers to get more creative with their sales channels, particularly for their private-label products. Many that produce such private-label products — which tend to have higher profit margins — are achieving great success by leveraging channel strategies used by manufacturers and reselling these goods at the brick-and-mortar stores of other retailers, such as Sears. Known as indirect sales channels, these pipelines are notorious for offering producers scant visibility into crucial areas ranging from inventory to sales to end customer data. Fortunately, there are three ways e-retailers can increase the profitability of their private-label products sold through indirect sales channels, using channel data management (CDM).

eBay Bolsters Machine Learning Capabilities With SalesPredict Acquisition

A version of this news brief was initially posted on Demand Gen Report. EBay has agreed to acquire SalesPredict, an Israel-based predictive analytics company. The acquisition is intended to support eBay’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. As Amazon continues to use data to offer product recommendations that can benefit both the retailer and the consumer, all while dynamically pricing its products, eBay is seeking tools that make the marketplace experience more relevant for consumers.

The Future Of Retail Marketing Means Escaping The Pull Of The Past

It should come as no surprise that the past few years have taken a toll on the retail sector. From the smallest stores to the nation's giant chains, the outlook for 2016 has been grim, with sales numbers declining and in-store traffic reaching record lows. Marketers are increasingly turning to new technologies to get a better understanding of their customers. But in many cases, they are not adapting new technologies nearly fast enough to keep pace with their customers. There continues to be significant and ultimately costly inertia among retail organizations when it comes to embracing innovation, from automating inefficient manual processes to piloting “but it seems so out there!” technologies. Even with sales figures (and jobs) on the line, few brands are willing to risk what they consider to be bleeding-edge solutions. But they need to.

$5.5 Trillion Gap Could Define The Future For Emerging Markets Through 2030 Featured

It’s never too early to look ahead when considering future global strategies. That said, 2030 could be a very good year for retailing in emerging markets. But it could just as easily be a disastrously bad year — with a difference of $5.5 trillion between the most optimistic and pessimistic forecasts. Retailers, particularly the growing number with ambitions for global expansion, recognize the importance of emerging markets in regions including sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Both long-term trends (e.g. climate change) and short-term political shocks (such as the UK's decision to "Brexit" the European Union) will affect retailers' ability to reach the large numbers of people in these markets who will be hungry for consumer goods and services.

For 42% Of Consumers, Amazon Will Be The Prime Holiday Destination

As the holiday season nears, retailers’ concerns about Amazon’s dominance are no joke: 42% of U.S. consumers reported that the e-Commerce giant will be their primary holiday gift destination, according to research from Signal. So why are all these consumers making the decision this early to flock to Amazon? They prefer Amazon to other e-Commerce sites because:
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