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For many retail marketers, navigating the flood of data and analytics is like trying to drive by looking through the rearview mirror. You can see where you’ve been and what mistakes were made. But it’s challenging to look forward and prepare for what’s coming around the next turn — to not only avoid errors but gain speed.

Retail marketers have more data than ever at their disposal, from in-store audience metrics to supply chain performance. Business analytics turn that data into a form that can guide decisions. However, the ideal approach uses data and analytics to deliver actionable insights that lead to better performance at retail.

Many companies may feel like they’re gaining insights from their data analytics. But many aren’t taking full advantage of the possibilities. All three categories are essential for driving your marketing execution forward, but they are not interchangeable. Simply put, data reporting provides numbers, while analytics is the solution to a formula. Insights are the answers to the questions you’re asking or to problems you didn’t know you had; they help marketers decide what to do next.

Reporting, Analytics and Insights in Action

Let’s look at a few examples of these important metrics as they relate to retail merchandising.

A Retailer Managing Its Merchandising Inventory

Data Reporting: The warehouse reports 40 pallets of merchandising remain in the warehouse.

Data Analytics: Using additional data, the manager calculates that 40 pallets are a three-month supply.

Data Insights: Replenishment requires a two-month lead time, so the supply should be reordered in the next two weeks to avoid running out. This insight will help balance reorder points to keep sufficient inventory on hand while optimizing how much capital is tied up in inventory costs. The retailer can optimize cash flow by ensuring it has exactly the right amount of on-hand inventory without investing in merchandising materials that will sit in a warehouse.

A CPG Brand Conducting a POS Display A/B Test

Data Reporting: Audience measurement captures total impressions and interactions for two competing campaign creatives in a POS Display A/B test scenario.

Data Analytics: A review of the data reveals that campaign B had higher-performing conversion rates across the entire A/B test scenario.

Data Insights: Insights look beyond total conversion rates and indicate that campaign A performed better with a specific demographic. Even though campaign B performed better overall, campaign A should be deployed in regions that match that demographic.
While analytics and reporting are valuable, and KPIs provide indicators of success, they fall short of fully interpreting the data to make informed decisions. Without all three, these businesses are left guessing at supply chain management or marketing strategies.

Clients Profit From Data-Driven Insights

While other companies offer varying degrees of reporting and business analytics, IMS also provides insights — actionable business intelligence (BI) that leads to better performance at retail. Because IMS manages clients’ merchandising execution from end to end, we have visibility across day-to-day activities such as order fulfillment, bid history and freight details. IMS collects raw data, cleans and validates it, then visualizes it in user-specific dashboards through a world-class BI tool.

The IMS value proposition is not about just providing data. It’s built on delivering insights clients can’t find anywhere else. We understand that our clients want help using the data they have in the most effective way possible to achieve their objectives. Rather than merely fulfilling a request for a report, the IMS team will work to uncover the questions behind the ask.

IMS works with clients to dig deeper using their data. The process starts with questioning the status quo, reviewing reports to understand their value. The questions are simple: Why do you want that report, and what do you do with the information?

Of course, IMS provides standard reporting as well as customized analytics and dashboards. Our clients have access to comprehensive reporting dashboards as well as ongoing regular consultations to present insights.

Most marketers are familiar with the array of metrics e-commerce can provide, such as click-through rates, conversion, basket size, abandoned carts, and understand the significant role they play in informing digital merchandising optimization. What a lot of brick-and-mortar merchandisers may not realize is that advancing technology allows for the same types of metrics to be obtained from in-store interactions. IMS has invested in the systems to align supply chain analytics with in-store performance, providing true insight that delivers optimization across our clients’ entire merchandising performance.

Benefits of a Marketing Execution Partner That Provides All 3

When you fully leverage all three layers of information, you gain several important benefits:

    • Better execution: Improve speed, quality, reduce risk and increase savings throughout the supply chain by reducing waste, redundancy and management oversight.
    • Improved coordination: Communicate with and monitor execution partners, such as distributors, store merchandisers and retail associates to improve compliance with POS campaigns.
    • Strengthened campaign performance: Insights help improve overall messaging and campaign results.

Your company may already be capturing most of the data you need to generate powerful analytics and insights. The next step is considering connections that can be made between the operational supply-side and in-store performance using the data that IMS already gathers from end to end. As a marketing execution company, IMS has invested in technology and skillsets to deliver insights at every stage of business execution.

Retailers and brands should expect more from their marketing execution partners in developing data, analytics and insights. Contact us to learn more about how IMS can help you integrate these three key business tools.

Article Author: Brett Lorek

Brett Lorek is the Analytics Manager at IMS. He leads a team of analysts in developing actionable insights through IMS’s formidable technology stack. Brett has a strong background in financial, mathematical and statistical analysis as well a passion for technology in his space, which uniquely places him in helping drive the implementation of analytics tools, automation and machine learning.