“Analytics as service” for SMBs?

I like experience of visiting book shop and browse for books and read book synopsis and select a book. My daughter is also trained to search for book, read synopsis of the book  and pick books needed for purchase.  Today book-shop sizes are coming  down. The e-commerce companies have grabbed chunk of  major customers by providing the purchaser with recommendations and tips and purchase pattern among various categories.

In the current times, the book shops have started to display “Top 10 best selling books”. While this is a positive move, the regular clerks in bookshops  who gave good recommendations have left their jobs and the new clerks have limited information and I doubt whether they have reading habit. I felt loss of the personal touch of the staff who understood my taste and provide recommendation.

Today e-commerce companies including Amazon and flip-kart use analytics to provide better recommendation to their customers. Amazon provides customer delight to their customers across all customer interactions. This is in addition to reduced price offered. I also migrated to purchase books on e-commerce platforms.  The analytics platform of e-commerce companies provides them the advantage to record customer moments and come with purchase patterns approaches required to create customer delight.

When e-commerce business have developed their own analytics’s, the physical stores and chain stores are yet to take help of  analytics in their business. While e-commerce business cater to  only few categories, there are still a major set of categories that are serviced by retailers, physical stores and SMBs, that  are not disrupted by e-commerce players. Can the  physical stores develop analytics capability to compete with the e-commerce companies?

Every business wants to get more customers and also get more money from existing customers.  

What is the state of  physical stores and SMBs today?  In developing countries like India, SMBs and physical stores started to use internet to comply with new guidelines from government to pay income tax and service tax on-line. In addition, the cloud offers them a new approach where they need not purchase hardware and can host applications on the cloud.

They have no analytics even today for various reasons.  They are aware that there are enterprise software like SAP that could help in analytics and the software is quite costly and also needs them to purchase hardware. They also need to take service of costly experts to operate software. Effectively SMB owner is not confident to trust  ROI that comes from their investment. Still, a lot of cloud based ERP software’s are yet to provide full support of analytics module.

Is there an opportunity to offer “Analytic as service” to SMBs and physical store ? It would be too greedy to assume that SMBs can start with analytics on “Do it yourself” approach. SMBs require the help of business analyst to understand their business objectives and start adoption of analytics in business and the business analyst needs support of  technical experts to set-up  the  analytics at SMB and to start with standard reports suitable for business .