Going Beyond BI: AI-Powered Retail & Category Data Management with Ariane4S 

At first glance, a category management solution like Ariane4S (A4S for our fans) could look like a simple BI tool with specific graphs. A first thought could be that such a solution can be easily developed through Power BI, Tableau, or any other smart development tool. However, retail players – retailers or their suppliers – now need to go beyond basic analytics. Insights and prediction, in an environment that becomes a bit more complex every day, are what teams need. To address these needs, Teams must go beyond classic BI solutions while remaining agile and costs savvy. 

There are 6 points that position Ariane4S as a Retail & Category Data Management tool of choice. 

1. From Automated Data Ingestion & Enrichment to Speed 

Classic BI solutions typically require manual data mapping and structuring, which can be a time-consuming and error-prone process, especially when dealing with data from multiple retailers with varying formats.  Developing custom ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes and pipelines to automate this can be expensive and requires ongoing maintenance as data sources or formats change. 

Ariane4S can not only automatically ingest and structure data, but it can also automatically ingest several data sets of any type, thanks to specific Python-based algorithms, automatically.  

  • Enrich the item masters  
  • Identify data anomalies  
  • Report these anomalies  
  • Automatically dispatch these structured and cleaned data in the tool flawlessly and seamlessly 

The time-saved and accuracy benefits are of course hard to estimate. Still, they are massive. 

2. Built-in Retail & Category Management Expertise

Classic BI solutions focus on data visualization and basic analytics. Encoding domain-specific knowledge from Retail and Category Management experts into the platform requires significant human effort and expertise to translate raw data into actionable category-specific insights. This would be a complex task to develop and maintain within a traditional BI solution. 

From the selection of filters to the order of menus and specific functions like Automatic Category Diagnostics or Assortment Optimization and Promotion Planning, Ariane has been designed by retailers, accumulating decades of experience across several markets. 

It’s a classic, but the driving force of Ariane’s design has always been “We want to design the tool we would have loved to have when we were retailers” This has never been so true. 

From global performance overview to Assortment effectiveness, from Promotion planning and measurements to Customer Decision Trees, all is done to accelerate and ease decision-making, 

3. Machine Learning 

While some BI solutions offer basic machine learning capabilities, implementing them effectively for tasks like category optimization, demand forecasting, or promotional analysis requires significant data science expertise, category management and retail expertise, and computational resources.  This can be very expensive to develop and maintain in-house.  

These 3 ingredients are continuously used in Ariane4S to improve retailers’ performance.  

ML is used at several levels in Ariane: 

  • Assortment Optimization 
  • Sales Forecasts (existing & new products) 
  • Automatic Category Diagnostics 

IN Ulys Customer Intelligence SaaS Software, Ariane’s extension to understand, measure, and engage Loyal Customers, ML is also used in 

  • Promotion Forecast 
  • Next Best Offer 

4. Scalability and Flexibility 

Classic BI solutions might struggle to handle the ever-increasing volume and complexity of retail data. Scaling them to accommodate new data sources or functionalities can be complex and costly. Ariane4S, with its inherent use of machine learning and automation, is likely designed to be more scalable and adaptable to evolving needs. 

5. Opening to the Retail Tech Eco System 

Once category management fundamentals are embedded in a retailer’s routines and significant gains have been achieved in both performances (sales, profitability, and cash flow) and efficiencies (time & reactivity), the next step for retailers is often to start simplifying, automating and optimizing other components of its retail value chain. 

Ariane connects seamlessly with our other solutions on Retail CRM, Automated Replenishment, Planograms and Omnichannel Promotion Production Flows automation. 

That seamless connection and unified data sets enable Marketing and Merchandising Teams, Operations and Supply Chain Teams to collaborate efficiently. 

6. Collaboration in Mind 

Data collaboration between retailers and their suppliers is not new. Back in the late 90’s Walmart or Carrefour were already selling their data. 

In today’s data-driven world, collaboration has taken a much deeper meaning: it’s about speaking the same language articulated around a single source of Truth: data. 

Ariane is built for collaboration: retailers can use it to provide access -against a fee – to its suppliers so they can see what is happening, for each retail driver, at the category, format, and channel level. 

Beyond the additional Other Income, it generates (between 0.5% to 1.5% of the supplier’s purchase value), it enables retailers and suppliers to jointly work on: 

  • Range Improvement 
  • Distribution  
  • Promotion planning 
  • Activity planning 
  • Customers Targeted Campaigns 

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About Hypertrade

With 30 years of retail expertise, Hypertrade supports retail players in implementing category management solutions & methodologies across the entire value chain, with data science and collaboration.

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