Data has fast become the lifeblood of modern retail, and more of it is being generated than ever before. A report by Forrester found that 80% of US adults shopping online feel comfortable sharing some personal information with retailers, if that means they will get a personalized experience in return.
The question retailers musk ask themselves today is, how to make best use of my data?
Technology is the answer. “If you don’t invest in analytics, if you don’t invest in personalization, the barriers to entry that others will build will be too high,” said McKinsey’s senior consultant Eric Hazan.
Unified commerce solutions, artificial intelligence, and real-time analytics are among the key technologies that retailers are investing in to deliver the personalized products, promotions and experiences their customers have come to expect. Those able to build in-depth customer profiles and apply predictive analytics to their operations are ideally positioned to anticipate consumers’ needs and meet them with custom-made recommendations.
“Going forward, every business will need to reimagine the entirety of its customer experience,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in his address at the annual Microsoft Inspire event. “This requires a 360-degree view of your customers with the ability to turn insights into action in real time.”
Know your business and your customers with Microsoft Power BI
Business intelligence technology like Microsoft Power BI has a significant role to play in all of this. This software solution uses AI to turn all kinds of data into coherent, interactive insights displayed in dashboards. It can connect to a wide range of data sources, link them together, and tidy up all the information in such a way that it can be easily digested and understood.
Retailers use Power BI to analyze not only what has happened in the past, but also what’s going on now and what might happen in future. The tool’s built-in machine learning capabilities enable it to identify patterns in data and use them to make predictions based on limitless what-if scenarios. It means that retailers can get closer to delivering the right product, at the right price, to the right customer, at the right time, and close the gap between demand and fulfillment.
General merchandise store Kmart Australia put Microsoft Power BI at the heart of its data strategy as part of an ongoing commitment to deliver a personalized experience to each of its customers. The retailer generates hundreds of dashboards and reports on Power BI to understand its customers better while also transforming its supply chain to improve product availability.
Digital pioneer Asos recognized years ago that its customers don’t necessarily want to browse through thousands of products to find what they want. The British fashion and cosmetics retailer, which runs its entire retail platform on Microsoft Azure, also takes advantage of Microsoft’s business intelligence and machine learning technology, including Power BI. It uses it to run its operations as efficiently as possible and understand its customers’ needs, to offer them products that are personally relevant to them.
A highly popular, multi-awarded platform
Microsoft estimates that more than 250,000 businesses, including 97% of Fortune 500 organizations, use Power BI to make data-driven decisions. Championed by Gartner and Forrester as an industry leader, this proven tool is a safe bet for businesses looking to build their BI capabilities.
Forrester gave Microsoft the highest vendor score in its 2021 report, The Forrester Wave: Augmented BI Platforms. It highlighted Power BI’s augmented intelligence capabilities, guided machine learning models, and intuitive access, adding, “It is hard not to consider Power BI as your top choice for an enterprise BI platform.”
Gartner also named Microsoft a leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms. It’s the 14th consecutive year that Microsoft has earned this accolade, with Gartner highlighting the company’s massive market reach and comprehensive and visionary product roadmap.
Building on industry-leading technology
And that’s why we at LS Retail are proud to build our own business intelligence solution LS Insight on the Microsoft intelligence suite. Our team and our customers know they can take advantage of all the insights Microsoft offers, and of all the investment and improvements they put in. LS Insight is available as an add-on to LS Central, which means you don’t need to do an integration project – all the data flows seamlessly from POS and ERP, and you can take advantage of clear, real-time reporting and dashboards.
The best part? LS Insight is available for free for all LS Central users.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us to find out how we can help you inject industry-leading intelligence into your retail business.