4 in 10 retailers don't use data to improve business

New research suggests that four in 10 retailers are ineffective at using customer data to improve performance. With worldwide e-commerce sales reaching $1.25 trillion last year, retailers that don't learn to better understand analytics risk losing shoppers, according to a Looker retail poll.

Looker polled retailers attending Chicago's Big Data & Analytics for Retail Summit and found that 66 percent believe the best way to ensure a successful holiday season is to understand customer behavior, which in turn drives sales and loyalty.

The data also suggests that more than 40 percent of retailers characterize their Bl strategy as less than good, and about 25 percent express a strong desire to experiment with new data models without requiring new resources.

"From working closely with our retail customers, we've found that funnel analysis is paramount to their success," said Keenan Rice, VP of marketing and alliances, Looker. "Discovering where customers are coming from, where they may fall off or become more loyal, and at which point they purchase, helps every retailer tune their performance."

What was stopping retailers from ineffectively using data? One top challenge was ad hoc report requests taking up a majority of analysts' time (34 percent). Another challenge was the inability to collaborate across the business to uncover data insights (31 percent). And 31 percent of retailers said disjointed data hindered decision making while 16 percent said standard reports don't allow for the full analysis of data.

"One of the most time-consuming processes for data analysts is creating ad hoc report requests. By adopting a tool that generates results in real time without the need for hand-coding SQL, data analysts are freed up to focus on more important responsibilities like predictive analytics to pull insights for critical business decisions," Rice said.

For all its success, it seems e-commerce still has a ways to go in capturing a larger portion of the retail market. A recent study shows that 90 percent of all retail sales are still transacted in brick-and-mortar stores.

For more:
-See this Looker press release

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Digital influences $1 trillion in retail sales
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