Executive Briefings

Benefits of Analytics Realized More and More in Retail as Cost of the Tools Comes Down

Even in today's data-hungry analytics environment, collecting and keeping every tiny granule of retail data - down to the level of each individual transaction and web click - might seem like overkill. But Sears Holdings has discovered that data storage costs have gotten low enough, and analytical tools have grown powerful enough, that this approach to Big Data has shortened the time needed for analytics projects by 60 percent to 70 percent, while also improving promotion conversions, lowering inventory levels and boosting sales.

"It's dramatically reduced the time needed for these projects," says Sears Holdings CTO Philip Shelley. "Because we have large granular data sets without the delays of finding data, it's taken weeks out of campaign delivery times.

"It's involved a huge mindset change relevant to keeping data," he adds. "Now we don't throw anything away, theoretically, ever."

Now, for example, if Sears wants to analyze the role of seasonality in the supply chain at an item level, "we have eight years of history at a detailed level. We can do the same things with pricing, because we have much more history than ever before, at the customer and the product level," says Shelley. "This allows us to make more meaningful offers and achieve better conversion with our campaigns, and also to lower inventory levels but achieve higher service levels. We saw lower inventories in 2012 but higher sales, and that kind of supply chain optimization is only possible with that level of detail."

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Keywords: retail supply chain, inventory management, inventory control, Big Data, supply chain management, inventory management systems, supply chain solutions, supply chain management IT, sourcing solutions

"It's dramatically reduced the time needed for these projects," says Sears Holdings CTO Philip Shelley. "Because we have large granular data sets without the delays of finding data, it's taken weeks out of campaign delivery times.

"It's involved a huge mindset change relevant to keeping data," he adds. "Now we don't throw anything away, theoretically, ever."

Now, for example, if Sears wants to analyze the role of seasonality in the supply chain at an item level, "we have eight years of history at a detailed level. We can do the same things with pricing, because we have much more history than ever before, at the customer and the product level," says Shelley. "This allows us to make more meaningful offers and achieve better conversion with our campaigns, and also to lower inventory levels but achieve higher service levels. We saw lower inventories in 2012 but higher sales, and that kind of supply chain optimization is only possible with that level of detail."

Read Full Article


Keywords: retail supply chain, inventory management, inventory control, Big Data, supply chain management, inventory management systems, supply chain solutions, supply chain management IT, sourcing solutions