Business Intelligence Solutions for the Retail Industry

Written by Mitchell Dubin

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The Strength ofrepparttar Market for BI in Retail Today

The market is very strong and getting stronger. While it is difficult to find a comprehensive suite of retail-specific BI offerings that spansrepparttar 133356 spectrum from competitive intelligence to merchandise planning and optimization (product, price, promotion, and placement) based on customer insight, to knowing how to maximizerepparttar 133357 ROI onrepparttar 133358 next marketing campaign, to understanding where to buildrepparttar 133359 next store, to reducing supply chain costs. Retailers are telling us over and over that they are seeking a single, stable, reliable, and proven provider of superior BI solutions. They are implementing projects that span multiple years and will deliver value for years to come.

The Retailers that are Realizingrepparttar 133360 Most Benefits from BI

We find thatrepparttar 133361 retailers that are realizingrepparttar 133362 most significant returns on their investments are those that take a purposeful, pragmatic approach to establishing an intelligence platform upon which to base all other BI solutions. A single, reliable demand forecast, for instance, can also be used in merchandising, marketing, logistics, store operations, call center staffing, etc., for operational benefit. BI that remains segmented by functional area can provide some value, but retailers can realize a much larger return by buildingrepparttar 133363 foundation upon whichrepparttar 133364 rest ofrepparttar 133365 house will stand. This is true of both top-tier and midmarket retailers, regardless of segment.

Specific Areas in Which Retailers can Benefit Most Include:

Merchandising -- This is clearlyrepparttar 133366 most important area of a retailer's business and an area where retailers are beginning to exploitrepparttar 133367 full value of BI. Analysis of past performance, combined with plans and forecasts of future customer behavior, leads to more accurate initial allocations of merchandise across channels and stores. Assortment and size optimization that are based on customer demand patterns ensure thatrepparttar 133368 correct assortments, size, and case-pack distributions get sent torepparttar 133369 correct stores. Daily price, promotion, and markdown optimization ensures that items are priced for optimal profitability, both preseason and in season. Space automation and optimization ensure that departmental sales and profit per square foot are maximized, and products are givenrepparttar 133370 correct inventory and space onrepparttar 133371 shelf or onrepparttar 133372 rack. Optimized fulfillment ensures that products are allocated or replenished based on demand. Accurate analysis also results in a more efficient use of manpower in picking, packing, and shippingrepparttar 133373 first wave of product, while minimizing additional, costly payroll expenses to facilitate transfers between stores, vendor returns, changing signage and labels for markdowns, and otherwise correcting mistakes. Marketing -- By understanding customers better -- whether by profiling, segmenting, gauging propensity to respond, or using market basket analysis -- retailers can create better-defined targeted campaigns, reducing expenses (printing, paper, postage) while increasing response rates, revenues, and gross margins. Also, as retailers gain a better understanding of their customers' buying behavior, this analysis can then be used to create more effective merchandising plans forrepparttar 133374 next season. Operations -- Understanding and predicting changes in demand -- by hour, by day, by location, by promotion, by price change -- means thatrepparttar 133375 store floors,repparttar 133376 catalog call centers, andrepparttar 133377 fleet crews delivering replenishment orders fromrepparttar 133378 DC torepparttar 133379 store are all appropriately staffed. This understanding also leads to optimal productivity since store-level human capital costs can be scheduled better and managed more efficiently. The Integrated Solution

It is important to note that a good BI solution will be able to integrate with any other system or platform. That said different BI solutions need to interface with different operational systems for different purposes.

A solution seeking to use customer behavioral data to make better merchandising or marketing decisions needs to interface with sales transaction systems, loyalty systems, in-house credit systems, coupon redemption systems, catalog and Internet customer data systems, and so forth. A system that recommends optimized price changes should interface withrepparttar 133380 price management system,repparttar 133381 item master,repparttar 133382 system that generates labels, etc.

There must be a closed-loop interface betweenrepparttar 133383 operational systems that retailers rely upon to conduct day-to-day business andrepparttar 133384 BI systems that help them conduct that business more efficiently and profitably.

The Future of BI in Retail

BI will be defined byrepparttar 133385 retailers that have figured out how to maximize customer satisfaction and profitability withrepparttar 133386 right combination of quality products, friendly and efficient service, unique value, a differentiated shopping experience, and a business model that truly serves its community -- locally and globally. How will this be accomplished? It starts with understandingrepparttar 133387 customer and then linking that insight into every decision that is made, from merchandising to marketing to distribution to store operations to finance, so that retailers can predict how to best serve their customers' ever-changing needs and desires.

Our vision forrepparttar 133388 future of retail BI provides for that very scenario, through our intelligence platform and our solutions for customer, merchandise, operations, and performance intelligence that are combined in a suite designed to equip retailers to become truly innovative.

A solution seeking to use customer behavioral data to make better merchandising or marketing decisions needs to interface with sales transaction systems, loyalty systems, in-house credit systems, coupon redemption systems, catalog and Internet customer data systems, and so forth. A system that recommends optimized price changes should interface withrepparttar 133389 price management system,repparttar 133390 item master,repparttar 133391 system that generates labels, etc.

Director of Microsoft Solutions for OnX Enterprise Solutions

Mercerization Process Produces Quality Fabrics

Written by Brannon Smith

Continued from page 1

Duringrepparttar knitting process some fuzzies will ultimately resurface. In Double Mercerizationrepparttar 133355 knitted fabric undergoes a second Mercerization process to remove these. The fabric is placed in a chemical bath using caustic soda to once again remove any additional fuzzies or slubs and is then washed clean. This makesrepparttar 133356 fabric even stronger and makes it look and feel even better. It has a luster and sheen that is unmatched. Double mercerized fabric feels so soft and smooth its look and feel can easily be mistaken for silk.

Brannon is an Affiliate Manager for Center Cube, Inc. Brannon discovered mercerization in a golf shop in Texas. For a quality mercerized golf polo shirt visit

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