Retailers are utilizing data-driven approaches to offset a moderate economy, varying consumer behavior and the continued rise of online competitors. In a recent article I wrote for Chain Store Age, I discussed five key challenges and opportunities that will impact supermarket retailers in 2015. Here are some of the highlights:
- Data-Driven Insight Spills Over to Back-of-House
Retailers are at the forefront of investing in data to cultivate closer customer relationships, and the industry is now poised to turn that prowess to back-of-house operations. By combining data, such as increased energy usage, alarm trends and maintenance history, retailers can identify problems and better invest their maintenance dollars. Further, data can uncover often-undetectable inefficiencies, such as small refrigerant leaks.
- Safe and Secure Data Access
Data is critical in driving impactful engineering changes. However, getting data from facility management systems has grown increasingly complex. Information and network security is a top of mind concern for today’s retailers. Rather than completely locking down store networks because of security concerns, retailers should consider the potential benefits gained from understanding their enterprise operations.
- Increase in Outsourcing
Today, many businesses are faced with doing more with less. Retailers are turning to outside partners rather than investing in costly internal support centers. Allowing a third party, like Emerson’s ProAct™ Service Center, to manage energy and maintenance data provides retailers with an enterprise view of their operations. These services are customizable, ranging from full-service monitoring with remote equipment integration and resolution to management of maintenance calls and dispatch requests.
- Less Square Footage But More Complexity
Consumer demand for shopping experiences that offer convenience and fresh foods are driving industry changes. Supermarkets are adapting their stores and offerings as customer preferences change. As retailers also expand into foodservice, stores are becoming increasingly complex. Simultaneously, the number of experienced technicians is decreasing and new technicians lack the skills needed to keep up with the industry.
- Focus on Sustainability
With energy efficiency projects, retailers can reduce energy costs and support sustainability initiatives. Through the utilization of setpoint deviation tracking services, a retailer may see million of dollars in energy savings. Another sustainability area in which supermarkets are investing is refrigerant management. Monitoring services provide visibility into equipment performance. With this data, condition based maintenance can enable early detection and potential resolution, which will save refrigerant, equipment, product and overtime labor.
What do you think of these five challenges and opportunities? What trends are impacting your business as we start 2015?
To read the full article on Chain Store Age, click here.
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies