The chief executive of big data and analytics specialist IRI, Andrew Appel, has told a conference in London that retailers and brands should look to data and technology as the ‘next enablers’ of competitive advantage in the sector.
Speaking at the IRI International Growth Summit, which continues today, Appel said that changing consumer needs, the evolving retail environment and the complexity of personalisation, means that investing in data infrastructure is now a must.
“What we are seeing is winning companies looking to data and tech as the next enablers of competitive advantage to create speed, consumer intimacy and process effectiveness,” he said.
“As part of this, the drive for personalisation and the development of voice-enabled commerce will cause not only a consumer revolution in the way that people buy, but also a retail revolution in the way that data is used by brands and retailers to target, engage and deliver goods to consumers.”
As he explained, retailers and brands should “take risks and do it at speed”, suggesting that operators need to be comfortable and confident in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) in order to take the next step in their evolution.
“AI is at a tipping point; fewer than 50% of European companies have so far adopted it, yet studies in such areas as demand forecasting and media ROI show it can deliver 10% incremental growth,” he explained.
CPG businesses in particular should embrace automated insights, augmented decision making and decision automation, Appel suggested, leveraging big data with artificial intelligence, machine learning and decision-activation platforms.
While acknowledging that increased automation may bring uncertainty, Appel stressed that automating simple tasks, such as pinpointing and prioritising product assortment opportunities; evaluating pricing and promotion opportunities by product, competitor, retailer and geography; analysing multiple datasets, including social media, frequent shopper card and point-of-sale data; and identifying sales patterns, are essential for keeping up with the accelerating evolution of consumer preferences.
IRI also used the event to launch new solutions to automate the process of identifying insights, removing the need for complex data mining.
This included the new Opportunity Finder, which analyses retailer data to both identify potential problems and also offer solutions to users, enabling retailers to find and prioritise opportunities based on the potential to increase sales volume.
In addition, AIRIA (Artificial Intelligence Reporting and Insights Assistant), brings the concept of conversational business intelligence to day-to-day analyses and automated insights, responding to natural language questions, whether spoken or typed.
“The sheer quantity of data available and the requirement for quicker analysis mean that insights teams are coming under unbearable pressure," commented Roberto Bandera, senior vice president solutions and innovation international at IRI. "These new solutions will help them by unlocking the data in their organisations. This will change the way users access insights and analytics."
More information can be found at www.iriworldwide.com/en-GB.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.