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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.

Chinese Consumers Favor U.S. Retailers For Overseas Online Purchases

Just over half of consumers in five Chinese cities have purchased from foreign merchants/marketplaces during the previous year, and U.S. retailers are a favorite destination: 89% of shoppers “bought American,” according to a survey conducted by PayPal. That’s nearly twice as high as the percentage for the second-place country, the UK, which attracted 46% of shoppers, and third-place Japan, at 42%. Accessories (83%) and clothing (68%) were the product categories most frequently bought from U.S. merchants.

Assessing The Value Of Retail Technology Investments

Across the retail industry, consumers are using a variety of channels to shop. We live in a world where consumers can browse for a great pair of sneakers on their smartphone during an evening show, buy it at their desk the next day and drive to the retailer's brick-and-mortar store to pick it up after work. As a result, retailers are actively working to address their customers’ buying patterns and behaviors. For example, Office Depot’s CEO, Gerry Smith, recently cited on an earnings call that the retailer is planning to leverage its brick-and-mortar stores to provide a competitive edge over online sellers, using their stores as extra distribution centers to respond more quickly to the changes in customer behaviors.

EnterWorks Procures Funding Round From Black Dragon Capital

EnterWorks secured an undisclosed investment from its primary funding entity, Black Dragon Capital. The company will invest the money in its Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) platforms. Additionally, EnterWorks will use the funding to strengthen its R&D activities in user experience, microservices and the cloud, according to CEO Rick Chavie. The investment is designed to make the platform easier to use, raise customer value and improve user adoption.

Alibaba Mall Moves Internet Giant Further Into Physical Retail

  • Published in News Briefs
Construction is well underway on a five-story Alibaba mall that is scheduled to open in April 2018, according to Chinese financial group Caixin. Located near Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China, the “More Mall” is being built on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land. It will reportedly house unique brands from the…
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How AI’s Retail Reinvention Is Transforming The Shopping Experience

Shopping is no longer simply about the utility of exchanging money for a product. Consumers are wielding their purchasing power to demand retail experiences that are both meaningful and personalized, as well as convenient and ubiquitous. One way retailers are rising to the challenge of delivering these new shopping experiences is by leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). While analyzing consumer data has been an integral part of market research for years — fueling product development, advertising and online searches — the predictive models and machine-learning advances that come with AI take shopper insights to a whole new level. With increased access to complex data, AI is enabling retailers to make shopping across all channels a smarter, more streamlined journey.

IBM And SAP Leverage Local Insights To Improve Store Planning

  • Published in News Briefs
Using near real-time data from multiple sources, a new solution co-innovated by IBM and SAP is designed to help retailers address key challenges such as on-shelf product availability and demand forecasting accuracy. The solution channels data sources such as IBM’s Metro Pulse through the SAP Cloud Platform to provide insights…
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Segmentify Launches SaaS Tool For Product Recommendations, Conversion Analytics

Segmentify, a SaaS tool designed for e-Commerce businesses, is designed to enable online stores to make real-time personalized product recommendations and use machine learning technology to recognize shopper interests and behavior. The platform provides product recommendations for retailers’ home page, product pages, category pages and basket page.

Metro Shoes Taps IBM Watson To Streamline Inventory Management, Personalization

  • Published in News Briefs
Indian footwear retailer Metro Shoes is launching a digital commerce platform powered by Watson Customer Engagement hosted on IBM Cloud. The platform includes the IBM Watson Order Management and Commerce solutions. With a countrywide footprint of 350 physical showrooms, an expanding brand portfolio and shifts in customer preferences, Metro Shoes…
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Peapod, Dillard’s And Panera Reveal Winding Paths To Innovation

It’s an eternal struggle within any organization: whether to devote time, money and resources to coming up with the Next Big Thing, or to focus on the mundane (but very necessary) job of Keeping The Lights On. Or as Peapod Chief Marketing Officer Carrie Bienkowski put it, “When we have a limited number of development hours and have to ask ourselves what our development team is working on from a roadmap standpoint, do we focus on brilliant basics or innovation?” As any retailer knows, it’s not an academic question. If the scales are tipped too far in either direction, the results can be disastrous. And to make things even more complicated, it’s not always clear which category a particular project or initiative falls into. Sometimes “innovation” actually moves a company in the wrong direction, while a “brilliant basic” can produce something new that provides the retailer with real-world, measurable improvements.

49% Of Marketers Need IT Assistance At Least Once Per Week

Retail marketers are still struggling to control their digital channels and promotional technologies, with 49% needing to contact their organization’s IT department at least once a week to carry out their role effectively, according to a survey from Episerver. A relatively small group, 15%, need to work with their IT department on marketing-related tasks on a daily basis. One in five respondents say that working with other departments is holding back their ability to drive change.

BJ’s Selects First Insight To Power Merchandising Decisions

  • Published in News Briefs
BJ’s Wholesale Club has selected the First Insight predictive analytics platform to assist with buying and merchandising decisions on products offered in its warehouse clubs. With the solution, BJ’s will evaluate a greater number of products and reflect direct consumer input in its buying decisions. 
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Don’t Fear AI: Why Retail Managers Need Artificial Intelligence

These are tough times for the retail industry, with stores closing at an unprecedented rate. As brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to survive, questions like “What makes people want to come to a store?” — or, more likely, “What do people find inconvenient or irritating about the in-store experience, and how can we fix it?” are taking on a new level of urgency. But there’s a problem. Instead of focusing on being out on the floor where they can create a positive in-store experience, managers are spending much of their time in the back office doing data-oriented tasks: compiling reports, analyzing trends and shuffling spreadsheets.

When Implementing An Analytics Plan, Know What’s Realistic

Analytics — predictive, historical, diagnostic and other kinds — are hot topics in the retail industry, and for good reason. We’re able to collect more data on consumers, their habits, and our own business operations than ever before. The excitement around what a company could know with the right data is enticing, and significant resources are spent working with analytics firms to develop plans for the KPIs you want to know, gather and measure about your operations and your customers. But what happens when the rubber meets the road and it’s time to actually execute on your plan?
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