• Retail companies are using artificial intelligence and SAS solutions to improve planning and reimagine the customer experience
• The use of advanced analytics applications to make price adjustments and optimize supply chains is changing the industry to make it more profitable

Consumers have access to almost endless options when searching for a product in supermarket aisles, and both retailers and consumer product manufacturers (CPGs) must use all available tools to make the best business decisions they can make. their profitability by designing memorable and relevant experiences for consumers: they need the technology to help them grab their attention and ensure their loyalty.

In 2020, these tools include artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics solutions that make it easy to take full advantage of customer, price and supply chain data to transform it into better decisions and juicier profit margins.

During the 108 edition of the annual NRF convention, held in New York City, SAS, the market leader in analytics solutions worldwide presents emblematic success stories that illustrate the direction the retail industry is taking with large companies. Players who are already being benefited by their powerful solutions:

• Ascena
Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), is an American retailer of women's clothing, the parent company of Ann Inc., the operator of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Gray stores. Ascena also owns the Maurice, Justice, Dressbarn, Lane Bryant and Catherine brands.
With SAS analysis and marketing software, Ascena manages and analyzes the data of all its stores, brands and channels. This omnichannel analysis approach helps Ascena managers make the most important business decisions: for example: selecting the geographic distribution and size of their establishments; or to quickly implement improvements that increase customer satisfaction or set the most convenient prices to gain market share, or increase sales with discounts that do not mean reducing profitability.

• Belk
Founded in 1888, Belk is an American department store chain with nearly 300 stores in 16 states. The company estça SAS analytics and AI are driving the digital transformation of the company and driving its omnichannel efforts. With SAS, Belk offers the right size and style of merchandise, improving customer satisfaction and profitability.

Other cases that demonstrate the power of analytics solutions to optimize various manufacturing, distribution, marketing, logistics, supply chain, and consumer relations processes include:

• Hershey Company
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. Produces and markets sweets, mints, and snacks, including iconic chocolate brands Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, and Jolly Rancher.

• Office Depot
With a strong brand and loyal customer base, Office Depot Europe operates in 14 countries in Europe. Under the prestigious Viking brand, the company is a leading provider of office supplies, printing and document services, paper, computers and printers, and office furniture. Viking sells directly to more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses in 10 European countries through online channels, mail order and call centers. The main markets for Viking include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The contracts segment maintains contracts to supply more than 100,000 large commercial clients and corporations in the main markets of the United Kingdom, Benelux / France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The retail segment sells products under the strong Office Depot brand to more than 600,000 active customers in more than 100 stores and online.

Dan Mitchell, SAS Global Director of Retail and CPG, commented that all companies in the retail industry today must have advanced analytics and artificial intelligence solutions to do proper data management to get the most out of the hundreds (or thousands) of online and offline contact points where they interact with potential and captive potential customers.

He assured that the market is in constant motion and require product availability and adequate communication at the right time, this is how a consumer's trust in a brand is built: “the only way to keep up with consumers is to use real-time analytics solutions to predict the effects that strengthen a strong long-term relationship with customers, "he said.