Selling products in different markets without retail intelligence is like driving with your eyes closed. You’re moving, but in pitch black. And in the retail distribution system, there are innumerous grey areas which slow down the business daily. Retail intelligence combats these by providing end-to-end visibility on a product from the warehouse to the shop. But how, right? Do drones hover over your products and track them?
What is Retail Intelligence?
Retail Intelligence is the set of tools and applications that digitizes the distribution process and monitors the performance of products, people, partners and outlets by analysing every distribution data.
It also shows the untapped opportunities in the market and the areas for improvement.
Some common retail intelligence tools that are widely used today, are the sales force automation (SFA) application and distributor management system (DMS) and merchandising software for retail stores.
These solutions have become an inseparable part of product distribution due to their ability to show the way through the vast distribution network maze, ensuring the right products reach in front of the right customers at the right time.
But lack of efficiency and visibility still remains the casualty. The right retail intelligence software can bring a magnitude of benefits to the business.
Collectively, here are the benefits of Retail Intelligence:
- Higher operational efficiency
- Data-based decision making
- Real-time performance measurement
- Superior route-to-market execution
- End-to-end distribution visibility
- Continuous sales and market growth
- Optimized beat planning
- Faster order fulfilment
- Greater ROI on trade spends
- Error-free sales ordering
- Granular market insights
- Goal-driven digital sales
Sadly, many retail intelligence companies don’t really have intelligent solutions, but only fragmented tools that do a part of the work. Some tools help automate certain tasks, while others study the sales data from different tools and suggest insights. But because there is no single source of truth, it becomes difficult to maintain data accuracy.
It’s vital to invest in the right retail intelligence software that ensures your business goals are met. Check out how to find the retail intelligence partner.
What to look for while choosing a retail intelligence software:
1. Industry-specific software
What works for one, won’t work for all. When choosing a software, see how it meets the requirements of your business and how flexible is it to adapt to your business conditions. For example, the pricing of poultry products changes everyday unlike packaged foods like chips. So the retail intelligence software needs to be customized accordingly.
2. Real-time Competitor monitoring
Knowing who and what you’re monitoring is essential in the market. The software you use should be able to capture your competitor’s performance at each outlet and also inform you of new competitors who are entering the market.
3. Extracting granular data
The large amounts of data that companies and retailers collect daily are mostly neglected. A proper retail intelligence system would study the data rigorously everyday and share different types of retail BI reports and analysis, without even asking for it, as well as notify you when immediate actions need to be taken.
4. Predicting Trends
Maintaining a balanced stock level while constantly observing and identifying trends in the market is the core feature of efficient retail intelligence software. With the correct type of software, reports can be generated focusing on the ongoing catalog trends, allowing you to identify which product is doing well and which is not, how to increase profitability by changing specific selling techniques, etc.
5. The stack of solutions
Your current problems will not your tomorrow’s problems. Hence, while exploring retail intelligence companies, see who has the whole stack that can give your sustainable growth in the future. Today you might only want to automate your operations. But next year you might want to expand into a new market. Your retail intelligence partner should be able to provide you with the infrastructure to accomplish that.
Here’s what a full-stack retail intelligence platform looks like:
Increasing the retail universe is one of the biggest challenges and goals for companies. But retail intelligence can streamline this process by providing a digital onboarding experience on your the salesman’s mobile screen. Outlets can be geo-tagged the moment they are onboarded, ensuring higher accuracy in capturing store details.
For any retail business with a plethora of products and SKUs, its impossible to have to know them all. But through retail intelligence, a digital catalogue of every SKU and all product lines is available in real time.
All aspects of stock handling come under inventory management. This includes sourcing, storing, and selling finished goods. Issues like inefficient tracking and overstocking of stocks are very concerning and can be eliminated with the help of retail intelligence software.
Orders and returns management
With over lakhs of orders flowing in and out of the distribution system everyday, but becomes imperative to have a system that ensures 100% accuracy in order taking and order fulfillment. A system that also updates product returns in real-time, ensuring complete transparency in the trade.
Retail intelligence can automate the process of collections both for your retailers and field force. It can give visibility and simplify and fast-track collections management. It also foster optimals engagements with retailers and enables best-in-class customer service.
Scheme and discount management
OptimI Implementing different schemes and discounts for different markets and different products can be an extremely time-consuming task. However, retail intelligence simplifies this as all discounts and schemes can be configued from one place and be made available to the right customers.
One of the biggest challenges for companies is to ensure their products are displayed in the most optimum manner at outlets. However, ensuring that is extremely challenging. But by using a retail intelligence system you can leverage its AI/ML and machine learning capabilities to make sure your products are looking perfect always.
Auto inventory replenishment
Montioring stock at evey store is usually based on guesswork. But retail intelligence platforms can actually see the stock at every store in real-time and even update the moment inventory levels go below the set margins. This eliminates out-of-stock situations largely.
As more merchants become a part of the brand and the brand starts selling more products, supply chains become equally complex and overwhelming. Endless loopholes emerge, and it becomes difficult to keep track of them. With the help of a retail intelligence software, distribution inefficiencies can be avoided by tracking the movement of stock from warehouse to store.
Using retail BI, retail intelligence platforms can give insights on the sales trends for every location during different seasons. This helps in planning production and distribution and ensures strategies can be well optimized.
For any company, knowing their customer is vital. However, for retail businesses it takes days to take a feedback from the ground to al the way up. This is one of the biggest advantages of retail intelligence where it captures market insights and surveys and passes it on to the top management in real-time.
Retail Intelligence has proven to be more crucial than ever in the 21st century. Data derived from customers can be used to overtake the fellow competition, spot the latest trends and assess existing patterns so that newer markets are accessed for a more significant impact. Therefore, investing in the right retail intelligence software is imperative.
550+ leading CPG businesses today, use Bizom as a retail intelligence partner to spearhead growth across geographies. Talk to us to explore the possibilities of growth through innovative 360° retail intelligence.