Unleashing the Power of Retail Analytics: Pioneering the Future of Customer Insights

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In today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape in Canada and globally, the strategic deployment of data analytics has become paramount to achieving competitive advantage. From traditional sales data to cutting-edge artificial intelligence algorithms, the future of retail analytics holds immense potential to transform the way retailers perceive and engage with their customers. 

The retail industry has long recognized the importance of data-driven decision-making. However, the future of retail analytics extends beyond conventional transactional data. By leveraging advanced analytics techniques, such as machine learning and predictive modelling, retailers can tap into vast amounts of data generated from multiple sources – including social media, mobile applications, and IoT devices – to gain a holistic understanding of their customers’ preferences, behaviours, and sentiments.

Pedro Arellano

Pedro Arellano, SVP & GM at Salesforce Tableau, explained to Retail Insider how Tableau GPT serves as the intelligent engine, while the newly launched Tableau Pulse offers a user-friendly experience that allows retail store managers, for example, to access valuable insights without the need for data analysis expertise. 

Larissa Amoroso, VP of Community at Tableau, said that both Tableau GPT and Pulse allow the power of data to reach even more individuals, including non-analyst professionals, globally, which as a result is fulfilling Tableau’s mission of democratizing data access. As part of the community-building initiative at Salesforce and Tableau, she described Tableau’s data pledge where nearly two million people have been trained through its data skills program since January 2022.

She went on to note that despite the fact that retailers and other businesses rely on data to make decisions, there’s a talent gap with just 39% of organizations training their employees with data skills and less than half of post-secondary institutions offering specific data skills courses. Thus in 2021, Tableau committed to providing education to 10 million people worldwide to become data literate by 2027. With that, Tableau offers free and unique educational programs and resources across the Salesforce ecosystem. 

Larissa Amoroso

Salesforce’s Arellano said that one of the key advantages of retail analytics lies in its ability to offer personalized experiences to customers. By analyzing individual purchasing patterns, online browsing behaviour, and demographic information, retailers can tailor their product offerings, marketing campaigns, and pricing strategies to create highly targeted and engaging experiences. This level of personalization not only enhances customer satisfaction but also drives customer loyalty and ultimately boosts sales.

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the field of retail analytics. AI-powered algorithms can analyze vast volumes of data at incredible speed, identifying patterns and correlations that were previously unattainable. This enables retailers to extract actionable insights in real-time, empowering them to make proactive decisions, optimize inventory levels, forecast demand accurately, and mitigate risks, all while enhancing operational efficiency.

These benefits, according to the Tableau executives interviewed, are levelling the playing field for retailers globally which is in effect ‘levelling the playing field’ for everyone to do business. 

Retail analytics also plays a pivotal role in improving the in-store experience. By integrating technologies such as computer vision and sensors, retailers can gather real-time data on foot traffic, customer movement patterns, and product interactions. This data, when combined with AI algorithms, enables retailers to optimize store layouts, enhance product placements, and personalize customer assistance, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and increased sales.

The future of retail analytics goes beyond transactional data, encompassing unstructured data as well. Natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis techniques enable retailers to mine customer reviews, social media comments, and online forums for valuable insights. This allows retailers to gauge brand sentiment, identify emerging trends, and promptly address customer concerns, strengthening brand reputation and fostering positive customer experiences.

As the retail landscape becomes increasingly omnichannel, retail analytics offers a unified view of customer interactions across multiple touchpoints. By integrating data from online platforms, mobile apps, brick-and-mortar stores, and customer service interactions, retailers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. This holistic perspective enables retailers to deliver consistent and seamless experiences, optimize marketing spend, and maximize customer lifetime value.

Creating a workforce that can understand retail and analytics is paramount to the future of of the retail industry. Tableau’s Larissa Amoroso said that the company will continue to promote community and education — this will help the retail industry progress more quickly with AI and other technological adoption. This is a global initiative, which means that businesses in less prosperous parts of the world will also be able to get in on digital innovations as well. 

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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