September 27, 2016


In sports, practice is terribly important. Baseball players take "batting practice" before games. Football players practice all week before playing a weekend game.

NASCAR drivers hop in a simulator (so do Formula One drivers). The simulator prepares the driver for things that may happen on the track.

Seattle Seahawks fans know all about the intensity that Russell Wilson brings to preparation. In college at Wisconsin, he once played a video game so that he could see where the play clocks were located at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. That sure came in handy when he rallied his team to a late-game touchdown.

So in the sports industry, practice is a critical element of success.

How do you, the retail and/or e-commerce professional, earn simulation time or practice time?

Do you have a simulator so that you can understand what happens when you double the paid search budget? How about when you close a store? Do you simulate what might happen before you spend tens of millions of dollars on omnichannel digital systems integration? Do you simulate not participating in Cyber Monday promotions? Do you simulate what happens when you don't open your store at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving evening?


Why not?

Show of hands ... how many of you have a favorite vendor partner who sells a simulator that allows you to try a hundred unique strategies to see how the strategies might interact with each other - so that you can figure out if you are making a smart decision before you just go out there with 35% off plus free shipping?

Retail and e-commerce must become more like professional sports. If the analytics community resents a "gut feel" approach to Management, then the analytics community should create a simulation environment that allows Management to practice different strategies.