Improving Wal-Mart Retail Link Data Analysis

Wal-Mart’s Retail Link* web site is a rich tool providing vendors with a well of data for analyzing sales and inventory. The problem for many vendors is that Retail Link provides data but storing the data, calculating metrics and providing users with analytics and reports can be a time consuming chore. Just this week I have spoken to three Wal-Mart vendors who have dedicated staff to the task of running Retail Link reports and turning them into reports for other users. From our research working with many Wal-Mart vendors we have calculated data manipulation and reporting averages 18 hours per week for most Wal-Mart vendors. On an annual basis that is nearly 1,000 hours of administrative time spent just preparing data for analysis and reporting. In addition to the administrative time there is a data storage issue most vendors encounter. Since the data is UPC/store level data most vendors do not have the ability to store each weekly data file at the store detail level. As a result they lose critical detail as well as the ability to calculate key metrics like inventory weeks of supply on hand, or comp year performance comparisons. If your organization is spending administrative time preparing Retail Link data for analysis consider for a moment how much more efficient it would be to eliminate that work and instead focus your staff on data analysis. What stores are performing poorly, what stores are performing above average, do you have the correct amount of inventory at each store? These are all questions your analysts should be analyzing but instead they are spending half of their week preparing data. It’s a simple matter of efficiency and resource assignment.

*Retail Link is a Wal-Mart software application is not affiliated with the Rainmaker Group.

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