We had an amazing time last week during our latest webinar “Four Data & Analytics Initiatives to Achieve Retail Excellence”. For all those who couldn’t attend but are interested in the topic, I thought it would be good to share some of the main points we covered. But first, to introduce the speaker, Eric Huang.
About Eric Huang
Eric is the Founder and CEO of Advanced Analytics and Research Lab and has lectured at the MSc Analytics Program at Ivey Business School. He has a Master of Science in Analytics and an undergraduate degree in Honors Business Administration from Ivey Business School. He also has an Honors Specialization in Economics from Western University.
He has worked in various capacities in consulting, business development, finance, and academia, but one of his biggest passions remains in education. Eric is well-known for teaching analytics to professionals and students in fun, engaging, and practical ways.
He's a "totally" fun and friendly individual who loves to learn about everything in the world. He's also an avid coffee drinker, barista, and volunteer.
First, Eric began the webinar with a question: “If you could go back in time 5-10 years, would you spend more resources to help your organization invest in and prepare for the internet?” Most people answered yes – which Eric followed up by arguing that the value of analytics and data science will rival that of the internet.
Next, he went into how analytics can be used in general, and what some of the major benefits of analytics are. Eric argues that analytics can be used in two main ways:
Further, some benefits of analytics that were highlighted include:
>50% decrease in time spent on manual data and reporting tasks
>5% increase in customer acquisition/retention/loyalty through personalized messaging, service sand recommendations
>5% increase in revenue through pricing optimization
>5% increase in ROI on marketing initiatives by spend allocation optimization.
More accurate Inventory optimization and sales forecasts
>5% increase in revenue through lower stock outs
>5% increase in working capital availabilities
Clearly, there are many benefits to incorporating data and analytics into your organization. The next question becomes, how do you get started? Well, Eric stated that the four main initiatives to achieve data and analytics excellence in your retail operations include:
1. Strategy: Strategically define your data and analytics goals with your executives
Eric displayed why building a successful data analytics strategy is the first step any organization needs to take in order to achieve excellence. He discussed the top-down or strategic approach, versus the bottom-up or operational approach of data analytics strategy and some other methods of building out a successful strategy. We also recently shared a blog about how to successfully build up a data analytics strategy if you want to learn more.
2. Tracking: Deliberate and holistic performance tracking for continuous improvement
Another key step towards achieving analytics excellence is to improve your tracking and overall reporting. Eric highlighted that their are 5 steps to perfect performance tracking and reporting:
High level tracking of your Key Performance Indicators - Start big with key indicators like: on time deliveries, inventory levels and days, marketing ROI, customer lifetime value, etc. Then get more granular.
Reporting - Trends, anomalies, deep dives. Analysis that the management, operations and continuous improvement teams use for reliable reporting.
Centralized and aggregated data + automation - Runs in recurrence (weekly, monthly, or quarterly target checks), granting full perspective of your operation at a single glance.
Proactive analytics - Find opportunities to improve various metrics, and ultimately increase profitability (predictive analysis, large scale systems optimization, long term seasonality effects, morale, attendance vs productivity, etc.
Advanced AI, data science, and analytics - When the team is more sophisticated, start integrating automated predictive and optimization into reporting and day to day processes.
3. Culture: Establishing a data culture through collaborative learning
Eric argued that just building a data and analytics strategy and improving data tracking alone is not enough – you must integrate analytics into the core culture of your organization to achieve all of the benefits. One low hanging fruit is education. He argues that organizations should be holding lunch and learns to better equip their teams with the knowledge and understanding of how and why to integrate data and analytics into their everyday activities. If you are interested in hosting a lunch & learn at your organization, we host corporate workshops for a discounted price to continue our goal of democratizing analytics! Eric then went on to describe what "ok" vs. successful projects and teams look like, and how this begins with the corporate culture and mindset:
4. Adoption & Execution: Execute, test, adopt, learn
The final key ingredient of achieving analytics excellence is to make sure to continue adapting and executing on the strategy and goals that you set out. Data analytics is naturally a very iterative process, with new technologies and ideas arising every day. Therefore, it is not enough to just institute a strategy across your organization. You need to create a feedback loop so you can continue adopting in order to achieve continuous improvement - which is what every organization should be striving for.
Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed the webinar. If you want to see the video in full, check it out on YouTube. If you are an organization looking to achieve analytics excellence, reach out to us today! At Advanced Analytics & Research Lab, we specialize in helping organizations reach analytics excellence though high ROI data and analytics initiatives. We'd love the chance to hear about your organization and learn how we might be able to help!