Retailers are increasingly relying on their data.
Retailers around the world are faced with the same challenges, regardless of their size. They need to ensure their products are available at the right prices, create effective sales and distribution systems, achieve returns on advertising spend and, of course, keep customers satisfied.
The COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions have exacerbated these challenges, with supply chain issues forcing retailers to get better at reactively and proactively managing customer demand for products. As a result, retailers are increasingly relying on their data for the insights they need to respond to issues and opportunities faster.
Wayne Rigney, Commercial Director at The Retail Score (TRS), calls this retail intelligence.
“What we focus on at TRS is providing an intelligent, industry-focused set of KPIs and analytics that can improve the intelligence of the retailer,” he says.
TRS achieves this by using an extensive data ecosystem that integrates dozens of business-critical data sets, including those relating to enterprise resource planning, store traffic, e‑commerce, digital marketing, logistics and payroll. This removes complexity for retailers when it comes to using data and gives them a single source of truth regardless of their platform or tools.
“The value of integration lies where one plus one equals more than two. The two pieces of information coming together should deliver something more than convenience,” says Rigney.
“So, most of our clients don’t integrate data for the sake of integrating it. They’re looking for value by saying, ‘If I integrate my store traffic data or my payroll data with my sales data, I can optimise my workforce and maybe change the way I promote products’. That’s the kind of value that we bring to our clients.”
Rigney also notes that most of the business’s clients didn’t have an integrated data warehousing solution in place before they partnered with TRS.
“They were muscling through on their own,” he says. “And I think what’s probably unique about what we’ve done with our core service is we’ve basically syndicated it.
“We’ve basically taken that $US250,000 consulting wedge out of the game and said, ‘Here’s a fit-for-purpose data warehouse’.”
The Australia-based company has doubled its customer base over the past 12 to 18 months, growing to serve more than 50 clients across the country. Among them are several well-known fashion retail groups such as APG & Co (which owns SABA, Sportscraft and JAG), Retail Apparel Group (which owns Tarocash, Connor and yd) and Propel Group (which owns Driza-Bone, Rossi Boots and RB Sellars).
“As trusted custodians of our data, The Retail Score has partnered with APG & Co for over three years,” says Josephine Barbaro, Chief Financial Officer at APG & Co. “We trust them with our data and leverage the platform they have built across our entire organisation.”
TRS also works with several other household names, including Zimmerman, Vitamins, Macpac, Decjuba and MJ Bale.
Matt Jensen, founder, and CEO of MJ Bale, says that TRS plays a critical role in the menswear brand’s day-to-day operations.
“We have utilised the resources of TRS since their inception, “he says. “All departments within MJ Bale benefit through TRS enabling accessibility to essential business metrics, when and where it has been required – from desktop to mobile, through emails and portals.”
Reliable retail intelligence
TRS uses Microsoft SQL Server as its data warehousing foundation and hosts the platform in Microsoft Azure. Rigney says this enables the company to deliver a highly scalable, reliable, and secure solution for retailers.
“At the core of our platform is stability and reliability,” he says.
TRS plans to leverage more services within the Azure ecosystem, such as Azure Data Factory and Azure Synapse Analytics, to enhance its data warehousing capabilities.
“We already enable customers to connect Power BI straight into our platform, and we’ve got plans to build integrations with Dynamics 365 to extract information and feed information back into that,” Rigney adds.
TRS recently teamed up with Microsoft partner, Board, to launch a new cloud-based solution specifically for financial and merchandise planning in the retail sector.
“In more recent times, the complexity of the supply chain and the need for better planning is increasingly one of the bigger issues,” Rigney says. “It’s the hardest job within the retailer.”
The company is also set to launch another product called TRS Connect, which is focused on delivering more collaboration tools for some of its existing solutions.
Says Rigney, “We want to start leaning into machine learning, particularly when it comes to customer analytics. In the next financial year, our lens is going to be turning very firmly in that direction. So, understanding what you as a customer have purchased and what you’re likely to purchase.
“We’re quite fortunate that we’re sitting on a lot of data, so we feel that there’s an opportunity for us to understand more about how customers behave through the use of that information.”