Predictive analytics is a top priority for retail

A recent study of more than 300 retailers released by SAP revealed that predictive analytics is almost universally seen as a competitive necessity in retail. At the same time, retailers noted that the pressure to keep up with big data has created a strain on employee knowledge and resources.

So what can retailer’s do? Installing analytics software can help, but that creates the additional task of training employees to interpret and apply predictive modelling tools to the business. This means costly and time consuming training in a highly specialist area, at the expense of these employee’s usual responsibilities.

Experts interviewed by Retail Times suggest that the increased need for predictive analytics expertise may cause businesses to selectively hire employees with knowledge of statistics and predictive analytics software and techniques. However, a shortage of specialists in this field makes this solution difficult to implement in the short term, plus these individuals may not have the necessary retail knowledge to interpret data in the most relevant manner.

Alternatively, the next step is to make use of new breeds of analytics software that turn big data into big insights, or more importantly actionable insights. Innovation in this space has led to more cloud-based, accessible tools which combine the advantages of big data with convenience, extracting the most important and relevant information - such as Clear Returns’ software.

This is one area to watch in 2014, as more retailers will continue to adopt new solutions to help them interpret their data faster and in more meaningful, actionable ways.