Amidst the ever-evolving retail industry landscape, marked by unprecedented challenges, one burning question emerges: What does it take to be a game changer in the face of disruption?

Earlier this year, I was pleased to present the SAS Customer Experience “Game Changer Award” at the Retail Week Awards in London. Seeing the vast amount of innovation in the room inspired me to reflect on what the nominated organisations have been through to get their game-changing concepts to be successful against the backdrop of business challenges we are seeing.

The event itself was filled with innovation and inspiration. But I want to go beyond the surface and explore the larger issues the nominated organisations have tackled to achieve their game-changing concepts in the face of business challenges.

Winner of the SAS Customer Experience Game Changer Award; Curry’s ‘RepairLive’

Continuing to drive innovation

Data, people and digital technology have played a significant part in developing innovative ideas within the retail industry. The willingness of customers and consumers to interact digitally has fueled the availability of data for retail and organisations. Nowadays, we leave behind a rich trail of data and signals, ranging from our product interests and price preferences to post-purchase satisfaction feedback.

Recognising the immense value of this data, the organisations I work with are increasingly seeking visibility into it and embarking on projects to gain more understanding.

Going beyond visibility

While some organisations have successfully joined and made their data visible to their teams, they often find themselves 'drowning in data.'

What's often missing is the capability to go beyond visibility and automate the analysis of the raw data. They need help to process the analysis into models that relate to business decision outcomes and then put these options and scenarios in front of the business user.

AI and Machine Learning Lifecycle.

Many retailers have tried automating consumer-facing processes like fulfillment, picking, and self-checkout. However, there is still untapped potential in automating back-end processes that impact product ranging, availability, pricing, promotion decisions and real-time personalisation of the shopping experience.

Ulta Beauty has been able to realise precisely this and glam up their marketing with personalised offers using SAS® Customer Intelligence 360.

Game changing results benefit forward-thinking retailers

The leaders in the retail industry recognise that AI and machine learning are not merely emerging or threatening concepts but have already proven their value. Advanced modelling of customer demand signals and scenario modelling and practically selecting the best outcomes in engaging your customer digitally are all made possible by AI and machine learning, even in real time offerings or price promotions.

To stay ahead of the competition, retailers must embrace a data driven approach rather than building their own step-by-step. The race for talent and skills in retail and analytics further emphasising the urgency to adopt these technologies.

To learn more ways SAS can help you transform and futureproof your retail organisation in these challenging times for the industry, visit our dedicated retail page.



About Author

Andrew Fowkes

Head of Retail Centre of Excellence, SAS UK & Ireland

Andrew Fowkes is retail solutions director within Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the Global Retail Practice (GRP) of SAS Institute Inc. (SAS), an international leader in business intelligence software. He represents over 16 years of experience in the retail industry, and leverages his merchant experience in guiding retailers as they blend the art of retailing with the science of SAS technology. Fowkes regularly meets with senior management in leading retail organizations introducing them to the Power of SAS for Retail and raising the awareness of the strategic benefits of retail planning software. His responsibilities include designing strategic solutions that support the customers’ business requirements along with an appropriate implementation roadmap driving associated business results.

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