What Retailers Can Learn from Iron Man

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What Retailers Can Learn from Iron Man

By Joe Skorupa - 10/02/2019

Whenever Iron Man gets into trouble he requests data-backed options from Jarvis, which are projected onto his helmet visor. Jarvis is not a superhero. He is an advanced analytics engine, a futuristic example of real-world technology retailers can use to win their battles in the marketplace.

Why should retailers care about Iron Man? Beyond entertainment, which is not a bad reason in itself, Iron Man wins battles over super villains because Jarvis supplies him with next-best action recommendations based on data-backed options.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Retailers are beginning to embed predictive and prescriptive analytic engines like the ones demonstrated by Jarvis in such areas as merchandise management, price management, inventory management and store operations.

In the recently published 2019 Advanced Retail Analytics Study RIS benchmarks how this technology is currently used by retailers and projects spend trends on specific technologies over the next two years.

Data Driven Clarity

The study finds a big majority of retailers (57%) recognize that advanced analytics plays a major role in optimizing every decision and improving every business process.

However, the data also indicates the business benefit of using advanced analytics has gone largely unrealized except for the top group of industry leaders (33%). Two thirds of retailers say they either have no advanced analytic engines in place, are currently in test mode, or have only one analytic engine in place.

Other key highlights from the study include:

  • The top two departments in the retail enterprise that can benefit from advanced analytics are merchandise management (56%) and store operations (56%).
  • The top three business opportunities for investing in advanced analytics are: predictive analytics for modeling and forecasting (67%), tightening control over inventory management (66%), and developing personalized marketing capabilities (54%).
  • Three quarters (75%) of retailers plan to invest in predictive analytic technologies to increase accuracy of modeling and forecasts.
  • The number one advanced technology retailers are investing in today is predictive analytics (30%). In 2020, it is campaign management (25%).

Click on the link to read the report and see the full set of charts, which includes the top five advanced analytic investment trends over the next two years and five key recommendations.

When thinking about the Iron Man analogy don’t get distracted by Jarvis’s futuristic voice interface, which is a common trope in comic books. What you should pay attention to is Jarvis’s ability to surf multiple relevant taxonomies and deliver data-backed decision and next-best actions faster and more comprehensively than the human wearing the Iron Man suit, e.g. Tony Stark, a smart guy to begin with. Working with Jarvis makes Tony smarter and Iron Man unbeatable.

If you had one super power what would you choose? This is a common question at tech industry dinners. Most people choose flying, super speed and super strength. Iron Man has all three of these things. It is the addition of Jarvis that makes him a leader among the Avengers.

It’s time to give Jarvis and advanced analytics the recognition they deserve.

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