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January 17, 2012

SAS Shifts Retail Analytics to HPC Platform

Datanami Staff

SAS has moved some of its most popular retail-geared software over to the SAS High Performance Computing Platform to improve retailers’ ability to determine demand and adjust prices quickly.

According to the long-standing analytics company, moving the SAS High Performance Retail Forecasting and the High Performance Revenue Optimization offerings over to the HPC platform will allow retailers to shave “hours, if not days, off the critical processes of forecasting demand and adjusting local pricing” which traditionally has been a very time and resource-intensive ongoing task.

SAS Retail Forecasting takes a predictive approach to gauging customer responses to price changes, promotions and other localized factors at the store level. It is designed to forecast demand for long and short-term activities and is used by trading and supply chain divisions that rely on price and promotional activity changes. Another addition to the company’s High Performance Computing platform, the High Performance Revenue Optimization offering, allows retailers to determine the right price, promotion and product at the right time via analytics that factor in the entire pricing lifecycle. According to SAS, this allows retailers “to run advanced optimization at 22 times the speed and 70% in hardware costs.”

According to Deborah Weinswing who directs the Retailing Team at Citi Investment Research, retailers maximize returns with optimization technologies and have been doing so since the early 2000s. She says that those who have taken advantage of these optimization technologies and techniques “have realized significant top-line and margin benefits as a result of these investments.”

Diana McHenry, who directs SAS’ Global Retail Marketing division, says that the combination of hardware innovations with predictive analytics and retail expertise gives SAS an edge. She says that retailers want to be able to tailor prices to individual stores based on myriad criteria and need to be able to conform to pricing for certain shopper profiles and brand strategies.

The ability to use a high performance platform that provides the speed needed to respond to changing conditions and seasonal or local demand has appealed to a number of retail customers already making use of the SAS retail offerings. Companies can be cited as a virtual walk-through of a local mall, including Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer, Williams-Sonoma, Chico’s, The Children’s Place, Hallmark, J. Crew and more.

As a side note, SAS also announced that the high performance retail capabilities will be available as an on-demand HPC cloud service, allowing for users to leverage a hosted version of the retail products. 

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