Grainger emphasizes search engine marketing, targeted e-mail s, and mining online data.
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Guitar Center also is planning to incorporate more supply chain data into its business intelligence system to produce reports on vendor performance. “We’ll be loading more things into business intelligence, including data in our logistics environment and distribution center, so we can come up with a vendor scorecard,” Zavada says.
Deploying and expanding a business intelligence system is not a quick and easy affair, however, and retailers need to be extremely careful to check that business intelligence reports are pulling and compiling accurate data. “Accuracy of data is crucial,” he adds. “If your people don’t believe the data, they won’t use it.”
Guitar Center took about nine months to design and deploy its system. “We did a lot of data preparation to make sure we were looking at real numbers,” he says.
The more a retailer users a business intelligence system, the more it discovers information it needs to pull from databases and correlate and analyze, experts say. “There’s an old saying about business intelligence,” Hagerty says. “It shines a bright light in dark spaces, so you keep learning lots of new things.”