Smart Analysis of Big Data is Key to Enhancing Retail Competitiveness

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Retailers must enhance store management efficiency to optimize the shopping experience and attract more customers—and Big Data analysis is one of the best methods to achieve these objectives.

Due to increasingly heated competition, retailers must enhance user shopping experience in order to attract and hold new customers, increase customer bases, and increase spending. Retailers can also improve store management efficiency and smart IT services to lower labor costs, and Big Data analysis is one of the best methods to achieve these objectives.

There is a wide range of retail categories, and each category has different features and needs. For example, department stores and clothing stores are both parts of the retail industry, but their scope and customer attributes are vastly different. As a result, their Big Data analysis needs are also different. At present, Advantech has developed appropriate Big Data
analysis recommendations for the following four most common retail industries: retail chains, shopping centres/department stores, restaurants and services, and hypermarkets/supermarkets.

Providing Different Smart Analysis Recommendations for the Four Major Retail Types
In terms of the chain retail industry, the most appropriate data analysis includes “customer flow analysis”, “advertisement video group analysis”, and “device management”. Wesley Liu, Business Development Manager of Advantech Intelligent Services China, indicated that “customer flow analysis” means customer flow statistics for each period as well as the customers’ ages and gender related data. The objective is to determine what products should be displayed in which stores at which times and seasons in order to attract more customers, or to analyze which spots are optimal for displaying which products. In the past, all store bases imported the same goods, and they were furnished the same way as well.

Today, these aspects are flexibly adjusted. For example, convenience stores near offices should display more cooked foods to make it convenient to resolve meal problems. “Advertising video mass analysis” means installing cameras on top of the digital signage that plays promotional videos to analyze the age and gender related data of the shoppers who have stopped by, break down a 60-second advertisement into 60 frames, and look at the characteristics of each person who looked at the frames to analyze whether the video playing time is correct and whether the advertisement is successful in order to optimize the advertisement content.

In terms of “equipment management”, the Advantech SUSIAccess software can be used to monitor device operating status remotely and the UStore Manager (USM) can instantly monitor the chain store environment. The USM  installs a variety of sensors inside stores to monitor electricity consumption, freezer temperatures, carbon dioxide concentration, whether the freezer door is closed, etc.; and transmits this data back to headquarters. USM allows managers at headquarters to discover any anomalies in the stores instantly. For example, suppose a certain store shows a dramatically higher oven electricity usage than that of other stores; it is possible that the oven may be malfunctioning, and headed for a breakdown. Hence, the store manager can, if needed, arrange for repair in advance to ensure the normal, steady operation of the device.

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