Real-time in retail – Don’t lose out on your precious data

By : Jack O'Malley

April 26, 2017 12:00 PM

Happy Latin American business owner checking the menus at a restaurant

Real-time information is now a big buzzword across almost every business sector. And it's easy to see why, thanks to increased mobile connectivity and smartphones where information is always at your fingertips. 


This is especially true in the retail sector and it’s now more critical than it has ever been. Customers expect to get up-to-date information about whether a particular store has a certain item in stock and store. Managers need to have instant insight into what is taking place within their locations.


What does real-time data offer?
Instead of having to wait for reports to compile on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, store management can see at a glance what items are selling, average basket values, and the number of returns or voided transactions.


This gives managers the insight they need to take action quickly based on actual data, rather than projections or information that has already become outdated. It can give managers better insight into how certain items are performing, allowing them to assess the impact of any new promotions, or see how changing a display's layout affects sales.  Access to real-time information is also very helpful in identifying the need for additional employee training to ensure the customer experience is not impacted.


Another key area in which real-time data is extremely valuable is fraud detection. Without a real-time solution, a manager may only be able to detect potential fraud after the fact, by reviewing security footage and comparing it to records of the previous day's transactions. But with the right real-time tools, managers can be alerted within the hour if the number of voided transactions is excessive and be notified instantly the next time a void is processed., This enables them to investigate before it is too late.


What most retailers don’t realize: They already have most of the data they need to get this level of insight. It just sits in disparate systems and the full potential remains unused.


A mobile solution for data insight
The best way for managers to take full advantage of real-time insights into their store's activities is through a mobile solution that can deliver immediate updates wherever they are whether it’s in the store or on the go by tapping into existing data and bringing it into a holistic view. Mobile solutions let them spend more of their day on the sales floor rather than being stuck in the back office. This not only saves time, but ensures they are more in-touch with what's going on by effectively allowing them to be in multiple places at once.


Having a real-time mobile dashboard, such as NCR’s Pulse for Retail, helps retailers greatly improve their productivity. According to a 2015 study conducted by Retail Systems Research, 91 percent of retail leaders agree that mobile technology helps their employees be more efficient. And a recent study by IHL proves them right. The 2017 Unified Commerce Landscape Report from IHL found 106% higher sales increase for retail winners investing in empowering associates with actionable analytics.


Being able to get anytime, anywhere insight into the store's performance, quickly identify any issues, and prevent losses due to fraud helps make sure retailers are prepared to respond quickly to problems and ensures they can keep up in today's fast-moving environment. Many retailers are letting this precious data go unused and lose out on opportunities to improve sales as well as customer service.


If retailers want to make sure they're leading the way into the future and not lagging behind, introducing an actionable insights strategy is essential.

Jack O’Malley

Director, NCR Retail Solution Management

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Jack is responsible for developing and implementing NCR’s strategy, solution roadmap, and go-to-market plans for the Retail ONE platform and related applications. He has over two decades of Retail Technology experience across multiple industries, business segments, and roles.