Jennifer Freyer has been in the retail technology sector since 1993. For 10 years she worked in sales, account management and training for EDI and UPC catalogue solutions. The past 15 years, she has been focused on POS reporting and analysis solutions, directing sales, marketing and client consulting, while speaking and working with industry thought leaders to drive best practices and adoption. She was a member of GS1 US POS data sharing group and spoke at the GS1 Connect conference. She has also spoken and participated in multiple retail industry conferences and trade shows.
Consumer retail data. Point of sale data. Inventory data. Online versus brick-and-mortar data. Customer trend data. We know we need it, we want it, and we are now able to get access to more than we ever have before.
I have seen retail technology evolve immensely over the past 25 years, and I am excited about where these advances have taken us. Many companies have come up with new data technology solutions to help brands and retailers. Retailers are sharing more than ever, and are partnering with and counting on brands to bring them insights with all of this data at their disposal. But with all that advancement, there is still a learning and acceptance curve to select the best solutions, and find the best practices to use them.
I recently had the opportunity to engage with Alloy. I am so impressed by their solution, their customer success focus, their incredible sales, marketing & on-boarding staff, their executive commitment to provide the best solution on the market, and the science they have used to build it. For years I have sold, consulted on, spoke about, and taught how to select and use data technology solutions for retail, and what Alloy provides is the best I have seen. Here’s why.
Alloy automates and accelerates the process of getting brands’ retailer POS data, enhances it, and provides ease of access and use. They develop reports that help brands arrive at those insights retailers are asking for. Ok, other companies can do that, too. Brands can manually do this themselves – it just might take a little longer and not be as thorough.
Where Alloy is different and better than any other solution I have seen is the fact that they do not stop there.
When I consult with brands, I am always asked the same questions:
“What do our teams do with the information? How can my team apply it?”
“I get POS data and use it but are we not doing all we can? What do we not know?”
“What actual good will using a technology solution do for me?”
“Why do I need these advanced automated solutions? We are manually making it work well enough.”
“Why should I spend money on a solution?”
25 years ago, retail technology evolved around efficiencies and reducing costs. UPC coding. EDI. Automated distribution centers. Delivery logistics. Very supply driven. Today, technology not only gives us more information, but technology itself has changed the way consumers buy. Retail technology has developed specifically around data because omni-channel consumer retail requires retailers and brands to be demand-driven and provide immediate consumer gratification.
I have never seen a solution as good as Alloy’s to go beyond “POS reporting.” Their smart alerts identify and call out specific changes in consumer buying trends, and their platform makes recommendations. They provide true consumer demand and use AI to predict and forecast. They can in real-time make adjustments and display potential gains and consequences. They incorporate marketing calendars and sales planning information.
No other solution I have seen comes even close to being this comprehensive and actionable. Their POS reporting piece alone is the best I have seen, and then layer on the demand planning and forecasting, and they blow everyone else away.
So, going back to the questions, my consultant answer is:
“Yes, you need that POS data, but more important is being able to use it all the way through your supply chain, and have it help you get those insights to yourselves, and to the retailers. And if you are going to get those insights, then your consumers expect you to react immediately to them; not wait 3-5 days before making adjustments. They expect you to be using that information to plan ahead, so you will always delight them in the future.
Automating the process rather than doing it yourself manually speeds the process up to the level your customers are expecting (immediate), and using a solution designed around the best practices of using POS and true demand data gives you everything you could possibly need to know.
Why would you not pay for that? This is the most important investment in your business you can make. Doing it slower, without best practices, and without all the pieces of the solution—POS, inventory, orders, shipments, plans, and forecasts—isn’t helping you the way it should.”
To which the brand will agree – there is a better way. And they need to embrace it in order to be competitive and please their customers.
“So what solution should we use?”