According to a report published on Statista, the worldwide market for business intelligence and business analytics will reach 17.6B USD in 2024. 

The retail industry has never been more competitive. As one of the most essential and dominant business sectors in this digital era, the contribution of technology in the retail sector is unquestionably significant. Like any other business, a retail company collects and stores a massive amount of data from multiple channels. In order to make the most of their valuable data, retail companies are increasingly turning to emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics, cloud computing and more. One such technology that gives the upper hand to modern retailers in understanding and gaining in-depth knowledge about their customers and their buying behaviors is Business Intelligence. This blog discusses the importance of smart BI tools for enhanced business opportunities in the realm of the retail world. 

Retail Business Intelligence: The catalyst for better retailing in the new normal 

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2019, data-driven companies are 77% more likely to achieve their business objectives. This means the more efficiently an organization uses its data, the more potential it has to grow. It takes quality data to make data-driven business decisions. Considering how prolific technology has become these days, companies that want to be data-driven need to leverage the right combination of new technology to ensure their customers and businesses are retained even in disruptive times.  

Statistics on online shopping vs in-store shopping in the UK indicate that the ecommerce sales grew 46.5% in 2020.  

Other business sectors such as banking, healthcare and media/entertainment have already adopted and experienced positive impact on their business as to their day-to-day business and customer experiences. E-commerce and retail sectors are the only two sectors that can benefit the most from business intelligent tools. It was the pandemic that necessitated millions of shoppers, who predominantly preferred in-store shopping, to shift to online shopping.  

Top BI tools that are indispensable to the retail sector 

Microsoft Power BI 

With Power BI, a highly interactive dashboard, in place, it becomes easier for retailers to get actionable business insights from the available data. For example, retailers with multiple stores in multiple locations get the advantage of analyzing and visualizing each store’s performance with a 360-degree view. Most importantly, Power BI saves an enormous amount of time by predicting tomorrow’s customer demands.  

Qlik Q  

With the power of business intelligence, Qlik Q, a self-service data analytics tool, has all the capabilities to turn data into insights and insights into data-driven business decisions.  This way, retailers can explore their data and create easy-to-use and compelling visualizations so that they can effortlessly decipher the current customer trends and purchasing behaviors. How different is Qlik Q compared to other BI tools? Well, Qlik takes a different approach when it comes to business intelligence as their core design is free-form centric, meaning it delivers continuous intelligence in real-time when they matter the most.  


MicroStrategy is an integrated data analytics platform that helps retailers deploy tailored and accurate insights out of the massive amounts of customer, inventory, sales and promotional data across the organization. The key features of MicroStrategy are data discovery, data visualization, digital security credentials, automatic big data analytics and reporting and more. Moreover, for retailers who want to integrate BI tools with their third-party data warehouses, the most suitable option would be MicroStrategy. With its easy-to-use and straightforward user interface, users can get comprehensive overview over the insights. 


One of the highlighted benefits to utilizing Tableau in the retail sector is promotional optimization. Most retailers see an upward trend in their sales during promotions. Other than that, it is faster and provides extensive features when it comes to data visualization as Tableau does not limit the number of data points in visualization, giving you a 360-degree overview of data. Unlike Power BI which has a 1 GB limit per dataset that is imported into it, Tableau can seamlessly handle millions of rows without impacting the performance of the dashboards. Another salient feature that makes Tableau a preferred BI tool for retailers or any type of business is that it has over 160,000 active users participating in over 500 global user groups, making it a popular option for businesses.  

This is how BI tools can help the retail industry make data-driven decisions 

Unlike most industries, the retail sector relies and extensively benefits from CRMs, ERPs and other operation management software. This is one of the major areas that facilitates a retail business to get a crystal-clear picture of where their investment and strategies should be focused on. How does Retail Business Intelligence improve the functionality of ERP and CRM software? 

With business intelligence in place, a retail business can improve the functionalities of ERP and CRM software. By combining crucial data from multiple channels such as CRM, ERP and Supply Chain Management, BI tools help retail businesses create a complete overview of their customers in forms of dashboards and reports, which include customer desires, buying behaviors, pain points, triggers and actionable insights. With such insights derived by BI tools, it is easier for businesses to come up with resilient business strategies that not only improve customer user experience but also hedge the business against sudden disruptions.