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By: Scott Jennings-Director, Industry Solutions – Retail Sector at Qlik


Black Friday & Cyber Monday both set new records for online sales in 2016.  Black Friday accounted for $3.34 billion in online sales and Cyber Monday accounted for $3.45 billion in sales.  In addition, Black Friday was the first day in history where mobile shopping revenue eclipsed the $1 billion mark for a single day, a 33% increase over last year.  The National Retail Federation’s consumer survey found that, “3 million fewer people visited stores this Black Friday weekend, while 5.5 million more shopped online.  However, brick-and-mortar stores still account for the lion’s share of overall sales.”

So what does it all mean?

From a retailer’s perspective it means a lot of money was spent this past weekend whether online, in a store, or on a mobile device, and this trend will continue as eight of the ten busiest shopping days of the year still remain.  According to Mickey Mericle, Adobe’s Vice President of Marketing and Customer Insights, large brick-and-mortar chains are putting a heavy focus on social, mobile, and email campaigns, which has spurred a growth in their online sales of 2 ½ times the rate of smaller retailers.  The large company laggards are catching up, which will only intensify the competition for holiday season spend.

How can a retailer position itself to grab holiday spend?

Data analytics is the answer.  Smart retailers mine the billions and billions of transactions that are created throughout the year and the holiday season.  Most of the information they need to better understand and tie together customer shopping patterns and preferences is found on a common shopping receipt.  Date of purchase, items purchased, location of purchase, and customer loyalty ID.   This data should be enriched with demographics data, weather data, and category specific data sets.

A best-in-class visual analytics platform like Qlik can be employed for a business user to explore this rich data set.  The end result will be a set of powerful market basket analysis insights which will allow a merchant, a marketer, a digital operations director, or store operations professional to better understand which products are sold together and to which customer segments.  Tailored marketing offers and assortments can be designed based upon the relationships in the data to increase marketing effectiveness and to lock in profits around the assortment.

A large retailer may take market basket analysis a step further.  They may apply advanced algorithms to enormous data volumes to find relationships in data that cannot be easily seen.  Producing statistics like support, confidence, and lift.  By themselves, these statistics are not valuable. But, in the hands of a merchant, marketer, or the store operations team empowered with the Qlik platform, they can be used to make the most effective recommendations on promotional offers. This can also apply to tailored assortments, and placement of items within a store or on a digital property.

A great example of this is the Big Data Retail Market Basket Analysis Solution which features input from Cloudera, Bardess, Narrative Science, and Qlik as the Visual Analytics Platform.  The end result is an elegant solution that combines large data volumes with statistics and intelligent predictive forecasts. It simply requires the merchant, marketer, or store operations professional to tap on the Qlik dashboard to make discoveries which fuel the holiday season.