There's been a lot of talk in the media lately about the death of retail. Every week, it seems like another retailer announces the closing of stores, acquisitions or even going out of business.
Many relate it to the growing competitive landscape with the convenience of online shopping and lure of free shipping. While these are definitely contributing factors, they're not the key components to the demise retailers. If anything, retail is more alive than ever. Small online startups are flourishing overnight. Innovation and the Internet of Things are driving exciting customer experiences in-store. And analytics are the driving force within it all.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different retailers in my years here at SAS. The players that I've seen thriving are the retailers that have a firm understanding that their data is gold. They're the ones that apply analytics to make strategic business decisions -- and have a firm understanding that the old school approaches are just that, old school.
It's similar to companies who don't offer employees a strong culture and work-life balance, something that's especially important to millennials. Those companies will continue to lose employees and spend time and effort attaining new talent, only to lose again. The same goes for retailers. If retailers don't offer customer-centric assortments and personalization, they'll continue to lose customers and spend time and money trying to attract new ones.
The retail landscape is evolving, and retailers must evolve with it. Data is coming from every direction and in different forms. There's a sea of touchpoints that must be taken in to consideration when making crucial merchandising decisions, and analytics are needed to drive the process.
Historically, retailers looked at store sales and e-commerce sales separately. Using advanced data management capabilities along with analytics allows retailers to have a complete view of demand, regardless of channel, for a local market. SAS refers to this as SAS Trade Area Analytics. Retailers are then able to understand what products resonate within a market, understand areas of opportunity and then slice it all the way down to knowing the right sizes and price for a given market.
Learn how SAS supports Merchandising for Omnichannel Analytics Excellence in our free webinar on Thursday, June 22, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Also, check out this free executive summary of my latest book: Style & Statistics: The Art of Retail Analytics.