Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Data Behind It

Posted by Martin Printz on November 21, 2018

In many stores worldwide, there are early sign of the approaching holiday season. For retailers, the season is kicked off about a month earlier with Black Friday - the most important shopping day for most US retailers, and gaining traction with retailers in other parts of the world.

For many, it is not only Black Friday with doorbusters lasting a few hours... this has become a several day event with different deals on different days. In one way it is multiple mini Black Fridays leading into Cyber Monday.

Black Friday and the subsequent days put additional pressure on the execution of the deals all the way from planning, negotiation with vendors, supply chain pricing and store operations. For many deals, there is one shot to get it right as the event only runs for one day or until inventory is depleted. This may be across different sales channels of different offerings on different channels.

In modern ERP systems, all of the previously mentioned steps are resting on one common foundation for clean execution – Master Data.

The common trend over the last years has been to push more data back the vendor to provide. Many retailers have realized that vendors do not always give the correct data. One of the reasons is that the vendor does not have the incentive to spend time and resources to provide the data - once it is out of their hands, it is not theirs to manage. The result: the retailer has to build checks for data validation to ensure its accuracy on their end.

The latest trend that has caught on in 2018 is Machine Learning (ML). Essentially, this is using existing data to validate the new data. This may be in the form of web scraping or looking at the existing data as a base of validation and ideally a combination of vendor provided data along with ML for validation and correction. The goal is to minimize the burden of maintenance for the retailer.

The foundation for implementing the above is a robust governance platform, built on best practices from the industry and fully supports the data model for your transactional system of record. For retails running SAP ECC or S/4HANA, that would be the SAP Master Data Governance (SAP MDG) platform with a software extension for Retail & Fashion (SAP MDG for Retail & Fashion Management) that provides the foundation for one version of the truth for master data.

Proper master data may be the difference of having a relaxed Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales cycle, or if you'll spend the next 5 days on edge, waiting for Tuesday, November 27 to come along. 

Topics: Retail & Fashion