During a recent Big Data and Analytics Summit in Chicago, business analytics provider Looker polled more than 125 senior-level retail executives to identify retail industry priorities and challenges as the holiday season approaches.
The survey found 66 percent of the retailers believed the No. 1 way to drive holiday sales and build loyalty was to understand customer behavior, but nearly half (four in ten) felt their organizations were ineffective at using data to improve business.
Asking retailers to list their top challenges around business intelligence, the study revealed:
- 34 percent claimed ad hoc report requests that take up a majority of analysts’ time was a major obstacle.
- 31 percent identified the inability to collaborate to uncover data insights as a top challenge.
- 31 percent said disjointed reports that hindered decision-making.
- 16 percent listed standardized reports that didn’t allow full analysis of data.
Looker’s retail poll also asked retailers to name business-intelligence “wish list” items for the upcoming holiday season. The No. 1 wish for retailers was the ability to experiment with new data models without having to invest in more resources.
Twenty-two percent of the survey participants said they wanted a platform that offered access to explore the data they needed to make their own decisions. Other wish list items included effective customer service response tools and faster analytics processes.
The analytics company claimed e-commerce sales worldwide reached $1.25 trillion in 2013, more than a one-trillion increase from 2012. Looker CEO Frank Bien recommends retailers prepare for the holiday season by identifying their most valuable customers, building their referral business and taking notice of products with high-return rates to determine inventory that may need to be modified.
Looker provides web-based data reports (as shown below), and boasts a client list that generates over $3 billion in annual revenue, including retailers like Gilt, Warby Parker and Storenvy.