Big decisions need better analytics

  • Opinion
  • April 2, 2015
  • Greg Doone
Big decisions need better analytics
Kerryn Smith

Do you recall the school science experiment involving a frog, a beaker of water and a Bunsen burner?

Thankfully banned from classrooms now, the experiments were used to explain how all animals, humans included, tend to sense and respond to gradual changes, rather than abrupt ones.

Such subtle changes are now rife within retail. The opportunities in showrooming and mobile searches, digital cross-selling and omni-channel integration highlight that retailers cannot rely on historical shopping behaviours alone to make strategic decisions for their businesses anymore. Your consumers are increasingly expecting a more personalised, digital experience from you.

But how and where do you invest to react to this; how do you read the subtle changing heat? Traditionally, successful retailers put a significant sway on traditional truths and instinct. As with many leaders this is still a valuable part of their leadership styles, however, business leaders are increasingly using analytics as a thermometer to know when to jump out of the beaker and when to make those big decisions. Big decisions can change strategy and the long-term course of your business, so making practical use of data will allow you to make speedier and more sophisticated decisions for competitive advantage.

According to PwC’s global report Gut & gigabytes: Capitalising on the art & science in decision making, 44 percent of retail executives in 2014 relied the most on their own experience and intuition to make their last big decision, while only 22 percent relied on data and analytics. It’s promising to see that change in decision-making practices is starting to happen, with 66 percent of retail executives having changed the way they’ve approached big decision-making as a result of big data or analytics in the last two years.

Difficulty in assessing which data is truly useful is cited as the main reason preventing many retail executives from making greater use of data, and many believe the quality, accuracy or completeness of the data isn’t high enough. In a world of overwhelming inputs, it's a skill to learn what not to react to. Imperfection isn't always bad but new insights can be gained from incomplete or imperfect data, provided they are triangulated with other information. Retailers should be using a balanced approach to using data and analytics for business-defining decisions.

Looking to the year ahead, 41 percent of retail executives say they are “fully prepared” and 54 percent are “somewhat prepared” to make the most important decision they’ll need to make. For 32 percent, their most important decision will be based on a new opportunity they simply can’t ignore, while 44 percent expect to make at least one big decision each month. Fifty-six percent plan to revisit their most important decision within three to six months to adjust for new information.

Top goals among retail executives in the year ahead include a focus on corporate restructuring, looking to collaborate with competitors and to enter a new industry or start a business. Other top goals for retailers making big decisions this year include corporate financing (34 percent); growing an existing business (29 percent) and negotiating a major contract (29 percent).

Making big decisions could change the course of your business and in this digitally disruptive environment, past experiences may not be good predictors of the future. With more data within your reach to understand what was previously unknown, analytical tools are available to “see” a wider range of possibilities and evaluate them quickly. So, if you haven’t already – looking to data analytics to help improve your business’ decision making capabilities should be your New Years’ resolution. 

This story was originally published in NZRetail magazine issue 736, March 2015.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

The $200 million-plus direct sales economy contains many lessons retailers can use. As part of a wider look at this thriving corner of retail, we created a quick explainer showing how this business model typically works.

Read more

Direct sales: Meet the upliners

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the upliners

We profiled different participants in the direct sales industry to find out what retailers can learn from them. Meet Isagenix distributors Adam Nesbitt and Bianca Bathurst.

Read more

Direct sales: Meet the business builder

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the business builder

As part of a wider story looking at what retailers can learn from the direct sales industry, we profiled Isagenix distributor Ben Frost.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Leveling up: Exploring multi-level marketing in New Zealand

Is the $200 million-plus direct sales economy retail by another name or something different? Regardless, what can we learn from it?


A spectrum of retailers

  • Opinion
  • April 18, 2019
  • David Farrell
A spectrum of retailers

In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, retail commentator Dave Farrell considers the role of those on the spectrum in retail.

Read more

How on-trend is your retail business?

  • Sponsored Content
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sponsored content
How on-trend is your retail business?

New insights from Visa highlight five evolving trends emerging from savvy retailers around the world. We’ve taken these global trends and looked at how they are playing out with merchants in New Zealand, and we’d now like to hear what you think of them.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit