The world of retail is undergoing a rapid transformation. The retail market has been growing year-on-year at 5.3%, with online fast becoming a key sales channel predicted to account for about 14% of the total sales by 2021. The retail industry, traditionally a technology laggard, is now forced to adopt new technologies, thanks to the millennial generation living life online.
This makes the CIO and CTO roles important and powerful. Molly Beams, senior director analyst at Gartner observes, “Retail CIOs used to be tasked with minimizing risk and cost. Now they are held accountable for business results. They are prioritizing ROI and other measurable business impacts.” This means, as a retail CIO, you’ll soon oversee the largest sales channel.
Retail Operations – Balancing Act Between Tech and Business Innovation
In addition to managing the technology across the business and providing the stakeholders with relevant insights, you’ll also be tasked with optimizing the online retail operations be it selling on your own ecommerce site or on various marketplaces. One of the labor-intensive operations in a retail business is the audit. As retail stores do periodic audits to gauge efficiency, online channels also need to be audited. Retail audits cover many areas like sales volumes, pricing, the effectiveness of in-store placements, product descriptions etc. Similarly, ecommerce audits should cover areas such as the number of SKUs maintained across the marketplace, supply chain, the product compliance across the marketplace which checks for inaccurate product attributes, stock information etc.,
In a retail store, human resources are available to accomplish this audit and there’s standardization in the data collection and analysis. However, for the online channel, human resources are scarce. While analytics dashboards provide an overview on the sales volumes, product compliance audits are difficult to perform. Especially, with different marketplace having their own set of data requirements. So, how can a CIO deploy technology to optimize this process? With the sprawling number of marketplaces and brands, audits can take forever to complete. This was exactly the point at which our client, a global consumer goods company engaged us.
Jiffy RPA: Giving a Fillip to the Retail Ops
The client had to perform compliance checks for their ecommerce listings across various marketplaces and countries. The eCommerce team had to copy-paste product listings from each of the marketplaces and compare it against the master data. This labor-intensive process took a long time to highlight non-compliance, which was incurring costs in the meantime.
We deployed Jiffy RPA for this task.
With Jiffy’s deep field learning feature, we extracted both text and image data with 100% accuracy from across marketplaces irrespective of page changes. Jiffy’s cognitive abilities enabled the client to perform the comparison against master data automatically. We also collected promotion and pricing information which enabled the business users to gain crucial business insights.