If we’re to believe Aarno Pohtola, CEO of The Bodyshop’s Finnish and Baltic branch, BI analytics services are what’s keeping Finnish retailers afloat during these difficult times.
It's not hard to believe that smartening up one’s brick and mortar can be lucrative on the long run, but there are integration costs which most certainly need to be considered.
But costs aside for a moment, first let's clear this out: there's a couple of alternatives in the ways the data used in BI-analytics is acquired. For example, Innorange uses hardware to monitor and follow the behavioural patterns of customers within the store, based on which data-backed conclusions can be made. Then there's Zoined, which is what you’d call the regular kind of BI-analytics platform, which means visual graphs that are built based on inflowing product and purchase data. You could think of it like turning manually made excel grids into automated pie charts.
Not that regular is by any means a negative thing: Zoined’s beauty lies in extreme ease of integration into the cashier- or e-commerce systems, which means the procedure to change your early 2000’s store into an up-to-date brick & mortar with down-to-earth analytics won’t require intense sessions of incomprehensible IT-vocabulary, and it could really go easy on your budget, too.
“Our pricing varies a little depending on the system the client is using at the time (could be either a point of sale system; ERP system or web store system) as well as on the number of stores. Typically, a middle-sized retail-chain’s monthly fee is below one thousand euros. Getting started is free of charge, so the client won’t have to count the payback time on the investment, but rather, the service begins generating value immediately”, says Tero Mäkelä, Sales Manager at Zoined.
“Our competition would be made up of traditional BI-tools like Qlikview, Business Objects, Microsoft SQL-server and Tableau, to give a few examples. Those are tools with which you could build a retail reporting system as a project. However, such a project’s costs normally linger in the hundreds of thousands of euros and implementation time takes anything from half a year upwards”, Mäkelä adds.
Zoined provides retailers with a variety of visualizations in relevance to in-store performance metrics. In specifics, a store integrated with Zoined would have access to stuff like assortment planning, customer segmentation, cross-sell and up-sell graphs and tools for targeted marketing: all potentially very useful information.
But as the Finnish saying goes, the tool is just as smart as its user, so in the end it’s up to the store managers to make the most out of Zoined, should they go for the service. Based on a quick look, however, simple maths and devotion to logical conclusions should already yield decent results.
Plus Zoined seems to be rather stress free when it comes to implementation, according to Mäkelä.
“At best, you could have our service up and running (and producing value) in one single day, so our competitive advantage in addition to pricing would largely be our time of delivery. Moreover, our service is constantly developed in cooperation with leading retailer chains, so [Zoined] is of a better quality than most results of other BI-projects; the continuous development is included in our price”, he finishes.
Zoined sounds like a good choice to be honest, but we'll let you make your own conclusions. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below, or if you know of any other retail analytics service that should've been mentioned.