Having the right information on hand at exactly the right time can make the difference between a profitable quarter, and posting a loss. Business intelligence (BI) reporting makes the right information available, as it allows for real-time data tracking that can be leveraged into actionable information. For example, a clothing store can improve turnover by sending out weather-related discount codes. Any business can benefit from BI; indeed, Nucleus Research puts the ROI for business intelligence at over 1,000 percent, making it a “must-have” for the modern company.
Tracking sales in real time allows store owners to gather information on the go. A real-time POS system allows for better inventory management, integration with eCommerce platforms, seamless retailing opportunities and more. Reports can be up-to-the-minute, giving owners or managers all the data they need to send out mobile coupons for overstock items, improve customer service and build relationships by using geotargeted marketing. The bottom line is that companies that effectively use BI make decisions five times faster, according to Bain & Company.
In addition to the direct-to-customer features, a web-based point of sale platform gives better sales insights. Retailers can track profitability for every season, department, store, location in the store and more. Armed with this information, buyers can better predict sales figures and respond to turnover. This allows stores to easily manage inventory based on trends and set up automatic reorder levers to ensure stock is always in the right location.
Business intelligence reports affect every facet of retail, from the sales floor to administrative activities. Every aspect can benefit from accurate and easily available reports. Retailers can improve merchandising with hourly sales reports broken down by shelf location, allowing them to adjust for placement when looking at profitability of a SKU. Business Intelligence reports can help improve operations by tracking workflow and internal processes. Customer service can also benefit with retailers able to look at transactional information to handle possible complaints.
With a recent study at M.I.T suggesting productivity gains of between 5-6 percent through data-driven decision-making, the cost of not adopting BI could be tremendous. Real-time POS systems offer businesses greater agility in the marketplace, as businesses that have the information they need respond faster to trend shifts and improve their operational efficiency. Customizable reporting is the foundation on which good BI is built, so being able to organize information on demand is a critical part of effectively using Big Data.