The retail industry has faced unprecedented change in the last few years. Companies have shifted their focus from brick-and-mortar stores to online sales, aiming to adjust their strategies to accommodate changing customer behaviors, hyper-personalization and growing supply chain complexity. At the center of all this change? Data.
Data is crucial for retailers looking to create rich, customer experiences and generate powerful business insights — especially as leading retail companies use in-the-moment analytics to interact more effectively with their customers.
Yet traditional data architectures, especially those that rely on single-node, legacy databases, create hurdles for businesses. Front-end applications are too slow and refresh and don’t reflect the most real-time data, leading to customer churn and lost revenue. And at the back end, data analytics can be delayed up to hours — or even days — creating blindspots for decision makers that need to move quickly on insights.
How do you architect a real-time data infrastructure for interactive applications and analytics that creates successful customer journeys? Our webinar, “Real-Time Retail With IBM and SingleStoreDB” examines just that.
Here’s a look at what we covered with Mahesh Dodani, Industry Chief Engineer for Retail, CPG, Travel & Transportation Industries at IBM.
The Integral Role of Real-Time Analytics in Retail
“As we’re coming to the start of the peak season for retail, covering Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc., retailers are focused on delivering a differentiated, seamless shopping experience,” says Dodani.
And post-pandemic, customer expectations revolve around a hybrid shopping experience — think buy online, pick up in store; and guided shopping with help from store associates.
“Delivering this differentiated experience will require retailers to bring together capabilities and orchestrate them to deliver a personalized customer journey,” adds Dodani. This can look like:
Retailers can use analytics and AI to provide these experiences, something that happens when they have the right, real-time data available instantly. However, retailers may experience constraints in getting there.
“When you talk about dynamic pricing, personalization and inventory management, these constraints are truly from technologies feeding applications,” says Sugandan Barathy, Senior Partner Solutions Architect at SingleStore. “For example, event-driven data is being generated at the source in a POS system, in environments that are in the store — but it’s not available for use since there are processes that need to be done and in place before the data is usable.”
That means when businesses are able to access data, it’s not in real time — not to mention, the speed at which data is made available is far behind what’s required to be sufficient for real-time applications.
The main culprit behind slow, outdated insights? Legacy data architectures that are complex, costly and hard to scale.
Building a Data Infrastructure for Real-Time Retail With IBM & SingleStoreDB
The complexity of current approaches
In retail environments, businesses are generating data in large volumes — up to 30-50TB of data per day, per store. The problem is that this data has to move through several systems to eventually reach the transactional data store, where it is then extracted, transformed and loaded (ETL’d) into the analytics data store. And only after it goes through rigorous data security and compliance is it made available to users.
This fragmented, siloed approach to generating insights often leads to users experiencing:
SingleStoreDB: The real-time, distributed SQL database
Unifying transactions and analytics with no data movement, SingleStoreDB is a fully distributed SQL database that scales and is built for the cloud. Unlike traditional systems that require several databases and constant movement, our unique three-tier architecture and Universal Storage capabilities effortlessly scale with your data requirements.
Powering real-time applications with IBM Cognos & SingleStoreDB
The power of a unified, distributed database like SingleStoreDB is amplified when used in tandem with IBM Cognos. Together, this technology empowers users to make sense of retail data — simplifying previously described architecture while accelerating data processes.
By using IBM Cognos & SingleStoreDB, businesses experience:
Get Real-Time Retail With IBM and SingleStoreDB On Demand
For more real-time retail use cases and stories of how some of the world’s largest retailers have leveraged IBM and SingleStoreDB, watch the webinar on demand today.