The retail industry is inundated with “plug and play” analytics solutions, many of which start out looking really promising but ultimately prove largely unsuccessful. The crux of the problem for mass-produced analytics is that in striving to fit everyone, they really fit no one. Time and time again retailers make significant resource and capital investments in such solutions, only to ultimately “unplug” them when adoption wanes and results fall short of expectations.
The most common reasons for “unplugging”? Wrong level of analytics sophistication, lack of trust in the recommendations, and poor fit with the business structure and processes. These challenges all make perfect sense, that is, if the solution wasn’t designed specifically for that retailer. This is where a bespoke approach makes all the difference.
To truly unlock the value of analytics you need a bespoke solution. A bespoke solution, designed and developed to meet your specific company’s needs, can unlock unrivaled value and drive sustainable organic revenue growth. What makes a bespoke solution so much more impactful? Typically the merits boil down to three key elements:
1) Right-sizing. No two retailers are the same, from their strategy, products and channels, to their organization structure, people and skill sets. Instead of forcing the proverbial “square peg into a round hole,” why not craft a solution that recognizes and embraces your unique situation? A bespoke solution, collaboratively designed and built, will unquestionably be better calibrated to your organization’s needs (i.e., specific analytics components, complexity, scale, automation, and platform) than any off-the-shelf alternative. With a more tailored solution comes higher adoption and higher ROI.
2) Transparency. Off-the-shelf analytics solutions are commonly referred to as “black box.” This is because they provide little or no visibility into how the analytics work or how the recommendations are derived. Part of the benefit of a bespoke solution is the opportunity to provide better transparency – from collaborative design and development, through ongoing use and display of recommendations with supporting detail / justification. Greater transparency breeds greater confidence in the analytics and resulting recommendations, which in turn drives more effective use of the solution, greater adoption and higher ROI.
3) Fit. There are many facets to how an analytical solution fits within an organization. These range from the data and technology, to skill sets, business processes and governance models an organization adheres to. We previously talked specifically about the benefits of ensuring the solution’s user interface fits the company’s need. Organizational fit is yet another key driver of adoption and ROI. Far too often, solutions that don’t directly fit an organization get cast aside as “not right for us.” A bespoke solution can remove that obstacle completely.
Choosing to invest in an analytics solution can be a daunting endeavor. Selecting an off-the-shelf solution can be tempting as they often appear “easy” to implement during flashy sales demos. However, perception and reality often deviate when it comes to actually delivering the solution and driving user adoption. In order to deliver on the promised uplift, analytical solutions must be tailored to the retailer, ensuring that they are right-sized to meet the need, fully transparent, and properly fit within the organization.