How both online and physical retailers can benefit from Power BI

Power BI or Business intelligence is an analytical tool provided by Microsoft. This tool delivers insights that can transform data into spectacular visuals. With this service, we can very quickly scan through a wide range of data sources with minimal effort. The striking feature of this data is that it enables the user to visually explore and analyze on cloud and on-premises simultaneously and also share them with subordinates on any device.

The addition of visuals increases the speed of analysis, giving sufficient time to the user to make informed decisions. According to a survey from Bain & Company, “Companies using analytics are 5 times more likely to make faster decisions.” Visuals function on various levels giving us useful insights. Microsoft Power BI provides interactive reports with all the necessary metrics.

We saw briefly what Power BI is! Now let’s see how it is beneficial to the retail industry.


Shopping has now become a cakewalk. A few scrolls and you are done, especially for those who hate going to market. All thanks to the digital age.

The steady increase of eCommerce and mCommerce is eating the retail industry profits. This has put retailers under pressure.

The increasing footfall of customers and declining revenues are some of the biggest concerns for retailers. However, a Power BI dashboard provides the required information that was previously inaccessible. This leads to engaging the right strategy at the right time without delay.

The Power BI dashboard provides the following information to the retailers

  • Traffic flow analysis
  • Peak hours of visitor traffic
  • Dwell time per visitor
  • New v/s returning customers list
  • Devices identified – Android/iOS devices
  • Month-wise report and easy selection
  • Most visited places in the shop/mall
  • Current and previous years’ details
  • Prime locations within the shop/mall
  • Number of campaigns that have been triggered

A retail outlet has way many data points that can provide you with new business opportunities and revenue streams; the more data points your store has, the higher are your chances for accurate analysis.

Benefits of Power BI for online retailers:

A Power BI dashboard showing important data

Suppose an online retailer wants to analyze traffic to its website or study reviews of the customers, then the retailer will have to study its power BI report. The report includes all the relevant data such as reviews, recommendations, and ratings. It also enables retailers to get information about the most visited categories and individual reviews. With the help of Power BI, a retailer can even analyze if there are any issues in its products or services. Transactions, supply chain, buying behaviors, multi-channel sales, trends, and global coverage can also be tracked with this tool to maximize profits.

Power BI helps get all these data sources in one place allowing you to make the right decisions at the right time. It also permits you to share your retail analytics at the store, factory or distribution center, and even the headquarters.

It lets the retailer understand customer sentiment, visualize shopper preferences and interactions, and identify opportunities to better serve eventually maximizing revenue. Power BI desktop has the following features:

  • Layout background images
  • Tooltip reports: provides the functionality to hover over the table and see the last review
  • Drillthrough actions: is used to navigate from the Summary page to the Review Details page
  • Custom visuals: allows visualizations that aren’t available out of the box in Power BI

The Accessibility Help icon is a button linked to a bookmark. A button is added to the Summary page, and the button action is set to go to the bookmark. The Rating Distribution page makes use of some DAX tricks to allow users to change the category shown on the y-axis of the chart. A calculated table was created that makes extensive use of the CROSSJOIN, VALUES, and UNION functions.

Lets us now see how Power BI is useful for physical retailers.

Benefits of Power BI for physical retailers:

Benefits of Power BI for physical retailers

  • Power BI and Barcode scanner

The success of the retail business lies in the sale of products. The retail experience is enhanced with the addition of a new barcode scanner.

The scanner in the Power BI app for iOS, allows the retailer to scan barcodes printed on products or store shelves. Within seconds the tool analyzes related records in the dataset and filters reports using the barcode. This facilitates getting up-to-date information regarding product performance and inventory of a specific item and make data-driven business decisions instantly. Barcode scanners can also be employed for warehouse inventory management or even in IT to retrieve data on tagged physical equipment.

Retail Location Analytics

Power BI combines demographic data like:

  • Median Age,
  • Median Income,
  • Education Levels, and

Customer purchasing data such as

  • Past purchases,
  • Preferences, and
  • Online behavioral data.

With this data, retailers gain a more in-depth understanding of customer’s needs with just past purchase data. The tool enables a combination of data from various sources and enables visual correlation.

Power BI lets you analyze retail sales data of items purchased from various stores in different areas. The metrics compare current years and the past year’s performance in terms of, units, gross margin, sales, and variance, as well as the location of the new store.

Final Words

Previously, an excel sheet was the prime analysis tool that assisted in analyzing a few parameters in business. However, it led to many errors, a lot of rework, and loss of money and time. This problem was solved by the introduction of Power BI. To avoid all the above problems in your business, you just need to install this tool, create dashboards, and generate reports. Power BI enables end-users to create reports and dashboards by themselves, without depending on the staff or administrators.

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