The top three themes I picked up on at NRF 2016 that applied to retail business intelligence were:
- Digital, Digital, Digital – The 2015 NRF theme was concisely summarized by the JDA CEO in his keynote speech, “Brick is the New Black”. This year almost every conversation I had in reference to retail business intelligence was about digital analytics
and growing the e-commerce channel. This took me by surprise, but was a
very consistent theme across dozens of different retailers. I believe
this is because retailers are finally getting their arms around
e-commerce and now they want to make the most of it, and what better way
to do that than with analytics.
- Data-As-A-Service Matters - As I walked through the NRF show I realized how many technology vendors are getting into the business of data-as-a-service.
In particular offering benchmarks that are industry or functionally
driven for the purpose of goal setting and comparison. This is a
competitive advantage internal data alone will never provide. It also
represents a real opportunity for retailers to invest in more than just a
business intelligence tool, but rather a business intelligence platform
which provides packaged and cleansed benchmarking data sets along with
advanced analytics and elegant visualizations.
- RFID is Here to Stay – The Internet of Things
is the latest technology buzzword that has a nebulous definition behind
it, but the closest tangible example in the retail industry is around RFID tags. Levi Strauss
& Intel sponsored an NRF exhibit which showcased an RFID system
that provided near real-time information on inventory. Quite a bit of
RFID technology for in-store inventory management is still being piloted
by early adopters, but the potential for real-time tracking of
inventory is obvious. In the business intelligence world this is
another opportunity to tap into large detailed data sets that will flow
in from systems outside of traditional retail systems.
While there were plenty of other topics
like artificial intelligence which received quite a bit of attention at
NRF 2016 I believe Digital, Data-As-A-Service, and RFID are near-term
topics that are red hot which can be significantly enhanced with an
agile business intelligence platform. Find out for yourself, and take
the Qlik Digital Analytics Application, developed with Teradata and Celebrus for a test drive, and get ahead of the competition in 2016!