Pentaho: Our Editor’s Retail Choice Award™ for Big Data Reporting and Analytics Solutions
4.25.17

Pentaho: Our Editor’s Retail Choice Award™ for Big Data Reporting and Analytics Solutions

By: Sean Garrity

The Crunch: In today’s fast-paced retail world, tracking massive amounts of sales and customer data to enhance customer experiences can feel like an insurmountable task. Pentaho’s data and analytics platform operates on the premise that the best way to drive revenue is to optimize the customer journey from start to finish. By giving insights into what customers are interested in, what they’ve been buying, and when they’re converting, the platform works to help retailers improve customer interactions with brands, which can have big impacts on bottom lines. Add to that data solutions for better inventory tracking, improved operations, and predictive supply management, and it’s easy to see why Pentaho is our choice for big data reporting and analytics solutions for retailers.

There are countless challenges facing retailers today — from thoroughly understanding customer needs and desires to adapting to fluctuating supply and demand. Many of these challenges stem from one core issue: visibility.

Companies depend on clear insight into their customers, suppliers, and product sales to drive revenue and profits. In fact, 44% of retailers surveyed by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) noted improving and employing data and analytics were top priorities.

Gene Bornac, Vice President at BRP, recently addressed this topic with EPR Retail News saying, “It is becoming essential for retailers to broaden their analytical capabilities to effectively address strategic business decisions. Analytics provide advanced visibility into sales performance.”

Pentaho logoIt’s clear employing data and analytics are vital in today’s retail space — businesses just need a means of gathering, managing, and interpreting the data that will help them succeed. Pentaho, a self-service data reporting and analytics platform, answers this need. The company helps retailers optimize operations and understand customer journeys by unifying all their customer and sales data in one centralized location.

Whether a retailer needs to manage inventory, improve operations, or gain insight into the supply chain, Pentaho’s solutions effectively streamline the process. This is why Pentaho is our choice for big data reporting and analytics solutions.

Leverage Data to Impact Customer Journeys & Drive Revenue

The first step to any successful retail venture is understanding your customer base. Obtaining a better picture of who your customers are, what they’re interested in, and where and when they’re buying leads to more optimal customer experiences because you’re basing your marketing and sales approach on customer need. Pentaho’s omnichannel marketing solutions take this kind of customer-first focus. By optimizing the journey, Pentaho helps brands stand out in saturated markets.

As new technology changes the way retailers do business, they’re faced with a major problem: while customer expectations are becoming increasingly specific and individualized, the systems retailers have traditionally used to track those customers simply aren’t flexible enough.

Screenshot of Pentaho analytics dashboard

Pentaho allows retailers to leverage data to learn about their customers, which, in turn, works to positively impact revenue.

Recognizing a need for a new model, Pentaho’s omnichannel solutions embrace the fact that customers come from everywhere. They engage with brands on their phones and computers, on social channels, and via email — all touchstones in the customer journey toward conversion.

Pentaho has developed a Customer 360 blueprint to ensure data is captured through all of a business’ touchpoints. Retailers can then use Pentaho’s platform to analyze that data and adapt their sales plans to evolving demands and customer bases. The result? As each retailer responds more quickly and efficiently to a person at each stage of the buying process, they have a much greater chance to convert those new leads into loyal customers. And this can have a big impact on revenue in the long-term.

Track the Evolution of a Conversion by Correlating Web Metrics with Actual Sales

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day sales. After all, every sale counts toward the success of a retail operation. Still, one of the best ways to increase conversions is to track and compare real data consistently and efficiently over time.

Pentaho offers solutions to compare year-over-year sales and metrics like page views to actual conversions. Seeing these patterns gives retailers better insight into trends in customer demand, their industry, and even into customer loyalty. This results in a better way of predicting what will come next so retailers can better drive sales.

Screenshot of Pentaho sales tracking dashboard

Pentaho helps retailers track sales in real time and through year-over-year historical analyses to make predictive decisions.

As an example, in this Pentaho product demo, a business can look at analytics from different years side-by-side. Product sales can be tracked in real time but, perhaps more importantly, current sales can be compared to sales from previous years.

This has a number of implications. A retailer can take note that sales dropped slightly on certain days compared to last year, but they can also see a consistent spike year-over-year on certain other days. With that information at their fingertips, they can ask and respond to the most important question in retail: why?

Seeing how those patterns play out in visual form means tracking the evolution of conversions over time and better responding to it in future years. This gives brands the ability to adapt.

A Unified Platform for Operational, Supply, & Inventory Management

Beyond helping retailers better understand their customer base, Pentaho also offers solutions to improve their operations and inventory management. When considering various Pentaho case studies, the results are clear.

Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and Kmart among other brands, leveraged Pentaho to make its customer support and product management more consistent. The company was having trouble managing the large data sets associated with compliance training and product returns. Sears Holdings turned to Pentaho’s data refinery approach to clean up its data and pump it into a dashboard where it could be more easily interpreted. Pentaho’s Data Integration (PDI) and Business Analytics offerings were employed to create comprehensive reports on compliance and product returns. As a result, the company reduced product returns by 30% and saved thousands of man hours on the company’s old method of employing Excel files.

Screenshot of Pentaho's inventory and supply management platform

Pentaho gives retailers a comprehensive view of supply and demand and allows seamless inventory management.

Shipping industry leader Caterpillar Marine used Pentaho’s predictive analysis to better schedule their ships, tugboats, and other water vessels. With integrations into Caterpillar’s systems, Pentaho’s analytics were able to build complex models on efficiencies and relationships between moving parts that were before invisible. This helped Caterpillar ensure ships ran on time and, ultimately, saved the company more than $650,000.

And then there’s BOS, an international company in the automotive industry with production sites on three continents. With Pentaho, BOS can better centralize its data regardless of where that data comes from. This enables the company to track its growth and better respond to trends, no matter which site (or even country) those sales come from. That system has allowed BOS to step forward as a global industry leader.

A Mission to Help Customers Get Fast Insight & Value from Data

At its core, Pentaho is dedicated to helping its clients use the data they already have in new, insightful ways. The company recognizes that big data can and should be used as part of a greater business model to enhance visibility.

Whether that means optimizing the customer buying experience, better tracking inventory, or planning company growth over time based on quantifiable evidence, the data and analytics platform is able to help retailers. The result is big data personalized for specific business needs, and that’s exactly the experience that sets retailers apart in a rapidly evolving market.