Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Alexei Agratchev about retail metrics, product customization and the use of video data in modern BI applications.
Dashboard Insight: Where does BVI Networks sit on the B.I. stack?
Alexei Agratchev: BVI Networks’ RetailNEXT is a vertical-based BI application for retailers. Unlike many BI systems which are more focused at a general business-process level, RetailNEXT is able to give more meaningful insights for retailers. We handle all layers of the BI stack from aggregating video-camera data with video analytics - and collecting data from POS systems - to displaying interactive dashboards of key retail metrics and overall in-store custom reports. We also have powerful data analytic algorithms that run in the background to find trends in shopper behavior.
DI: Tell us about your RetailNEXT product suite and how your solutions are customized to work together to provide your clients with insight into their complete retail operation.
AA: BVI Networks’ RetailNEXT Product Suite is a complete solution that enables retailers and manufacturers to use video, transaction data from business systems, and best-in-class video analytics algorithms to address some of their highest priority objectives, such as optimizing store operations, gaining valuable marketing and sales data and improving security.
We provide the retailer with data at the individual store level as well as aggregated for multiple stores that give them new insights into how their store, displays and products are affecting shopper behavior. Through a combination of a web-based dashboard, powerful data mining tools and reports that automatically arrive in their inbox, retailers are able to determine which aisles, displays and products get more shopper’s attention and ultimately result in sales. Our unique set of video tools enable retailers to pin-point issues with specific displays and identify opportunity for improvement at a fraction of the cost of typical observation studies. Retailers can finally understand the entire decision-making process a shopper goes through from the time they enter the store, shop an aisle or department, compare products and make a purchasing decision.
DI: What are the most common metrics used in retail KPIs?
AA: The most common metrics used in retail KPIs are profit per square foot, sales per square foot, sales compared last year, conversion rate, sales per employee. There are also marketing KPIs such as aisle occupancy, display conversion rate, etc. Store traffic and conversion are critical components of store performance.
DI: How long does it take a customer to get up and running with your solution?
AA: RetailNEXT is an open-architecture system that can leverage many of the existing devices in the retail environment. Some installations take only a few hours and customers begin seeing real in-store data immediately. The daily email reports showing traffic count and conversion rates can often be delivered to a customer’s inbox the very next day. Whether the system is connecting to existing cameras and infrastructure or new devices are being added, the installation is quick and minimally disruptive.
DI: Do you offer localized versions of your solutions? If so, can you tell us about what you offer?
AA: Yes we offer localization. Our system was built with localization in mind. Right now we primarily sell in the US so have not had to localize to other languages yet.
DI: What are some key retail BI best practices you would recommend?
AA: Information should have a purpose. We recommend identifying the business questions you are trying to answer and using the related data to thoroughly explore and analyze these questions. We recommend investing in systems that are open and can integrate multiple, diverse data sets so that your analysis can account for ongoing change.
DI: Retailers are going through very difficult times in our current harsh economic climate. How is BVI Networks addressing this issue?
AA: BVI Networks is very appropriate for retailers in this difficult economic environment. When an economic downturn occurs, retailers must look closely at their balance sheet and make sure they are not incorrectly spending their money. RetailNEXT provides tools for retailers to understand and improve staffing, display, and advertisement effectiveness.
DI: What can we expect to see from BVI Networks in the coming months?
AA: In the short term you will see BVI sharing real customer results in the form of case studies, ROI numbers and partnership announcements, all aimed at further developing the total solution for retailers looking to understand their in-store shopper behaviors. The product continues to be enhanced to include customer requirements coming from all segments of retail and brand manufacturing. Customers will see more and more functionality specific to their retail segment (i.e., grocery, apparel, general merchandise, hard goods, etc.) .
Alexei Agratchev is the founder and CEO of BVI Networks. Prior to joining BVI Networks, he was the founder of an internal startup within Cisco Emerging Technologies Group focused on developing video surveillance applications for the gaming and retail markets. Prior to that, Mr. Agratchev was a senior manager in Cisco’s Network Management Group responsible for the Cisco Transport Manager product line with a deployed base of over 250 large service provider customers. Earlier in his career, Mr. Agratchev was a consultant at Accenture in the Electronics and High Tech Operating Unit. He holds a bachelor degree in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He also completed Cisco-Sponsored Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program and Cisco Leadership Series, a nomination-only program for the top two to five percent of senior managers and directors.