Cloud-Based Analytics: How Retailers Know The Next Trend

  • Richard Thelwell
  • September 1, 2015

cloud-based analytics retailIn today’s Facebook-connected world, trends don’t arrive nicely spaced-out, or build up gradually. When something’s hot, it’s hot—and retailers had better have it in stock. But retailers’ margins are tighter than ever, and the pressure on inventories intense. How to square this awkward circle? Cloud-Based Analytics.

That’s right: Cloud-Based Analytics. Because Cloud-Based Analytics provides retailers with the tools that they need to transform data into predictions—and then gear their supply chains up, so as to be able to fulfil those predictions when customers duly arrive.

Where does this data come from? Retailers’ own point-of-sale and inventory systems, which provide a wealth of data about what’s selling. This in itself provides valuable insights, helping to spot trends. But go on to combine that data with other relevant information, and the result is an even richer insight into what people are buying, and the circumstances that trigger that demand.

How? Cloud-Based Analytics—which delivers powerful analytics tools, making those insights available ‘on demand’, and without an extensive (and lengthy) investment in on-premise servers and IT infrastructure.

The result: hot information on fast-building trends, delivered in a timescale geared to help retailers exploit those trends to the maximum.

Cloud-Based Analytics: powerful tools, a click away.

Cloud-Based Analytics is analytics on a ‘business as usual’ basis, without the need for highly-paid analysts. Simple point-and-click menus allow ordinary users—in sales, marketing, and forecasting functions—to call up powerful reports on a routine basis.

cloud-based analytics
With cloud-based analytics you can access powerful analysis tools at the click of a mouse.

Moreover, hosting your analytics technology in the Cloud not allows businesses to benefit from Cloud data warehouses, in order to produce those reports and queries ‘on demand’, but also allows them to add other data into the mix—customer loyalty and demographic data, customer location data, or even weather data.

Want to go beyond the basics, and try running advanced open-source analytics tools such as the R analytics language against that data? Not a problem: there it is, easily accessed in your Cloud data warehouse.

Cloud-Based Analytics: real-time answers, real-time reaction.

And the important thing to stress is that Cloud-Based Analytics is just about as real-time as it’s possible to be.

These aren’t reports that are run at the end of the month, or the end of the week—an obvious constraint in businesses where out-dated servers and creaking IT infrastructure impose limits on how often or how intensively analytics reports can be run.

cloud-based analytics real-time
Cloud-based analytics offers retailers real-time insights into business performance.

In the Cloud, powerful ‘on-demand’ servers make high-power Cloud-Based Analytics a cinch, allowing users to run analytics reports as frequently as required—and to do so, what’s more, on an exploratory basis as well, yielding fresh new insights into changing customer behaviour.

The upshot? Armed with the very latest trend information, retailers can place anticipatory orders on their suppliers and distributors—and do so faster than the competition.

Cloud-Based Analytics: a faster time-to-benefit.

That said, retailing is tough. Especially right now, as a glance along the High Street—or at newspaper headlines—quickly confirms.

The result? Many retailers lack the staff resources, capital investment, and time to engage in a lengthy analytics rollout.

cloud-based analytics time to benefit
Cloud-based analytics offers retailers a much fatser time-to-benefit.

The good news: with Cloud-Based Analytics, those lengthy—and costly—rollouts are a thing of the past.

Hosted in the Cloud, Cloud-Based Analytics places minimal workload on existing IT resources. Funded on a monthly subscription basis, out of operating expense, it leaves under-pressure capital expenditure budgets untouched. And typically implemented in around eight to ten weeks, it delivers answers and insights quickly—bringing a faster time-to-benefit.

To find out how you can implement a cloud-based analytics solution in your business, download our free guide below