Unlocking the Power of Data
with Regency Management Services
Regency Management Services leverages Versatile Credit’s new analytics engine
to gain actionable insights into their finance program
About Regency Management Services
Regency Management Services (RMS) is a family-owned Top 30 Furniture Retailer founded in 1999. The RMS portfolio currently includes more than 55 showrooms, and 4 brands in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware that are supported by 3 state-of-the-art warehouses.
Jen O’Connell, VP of Finance at Regency Management Services, is responsible for building and managing Regency’s financing program while focusing on ways to help improve sales, profitability and productivity, reduce costs, implement new technologies to achieve this, and help position the organization for future growth.
Regency Management Services began their partnership with Versatile Credit in 2011, leveraging in-store kiosks to provide their guests with a self-serve finance application experience. The kiosks allow guests to apply for financing with ease on a private, secure device and seamlessly transitions applicants to secondary and tertiary financing options, helping to maximize financing opportunities for customers across the FICO spectrum.
Versatile Credit revamped their data & analytics offerings to develop the Versatile Insights platform, designed from the ground up to meet the needs of retailers with real-time analytics, informative, easy-to-understand visualizations and comprehensive sorting and comparison tools to help retailers evaluate the health of their credit program while reacting to data in real time.
Real-time analytics with easy-to-understand and export data & visualizations led to more consistent engagement with the analytics platform.
A multi-step data processing process, which leveraged tools including Excel, were consolidated to a single application..
These features combined to create an analytics platform tool that enabled Regency to maintain their lean credit team while delivering results to management and stakeholders.
“The biggest challenge we had was that looking back at historical data meant we had to dig through 100s of emails to find specific reports. That was both time consuming and cumbersome.”
VP Finance Regency Management Services
“It was important for us to … build a tool that would provide organizations and stakeholders with actionable data and insights to make informed decisions — quickly, easily and thoroughly.”
President & COO Versatile Credit
“The Year of Accountability”
Before beginning their pilot of Versatile Insight, Regency would receive monthly spreadsheets containing metrics such as application and approval volumes, as well as the overall approved financing through all of their lending partners. While this provided them with important metrics, processing and analyzing the data could be time-intensive. “The biggest challenge we had was that looking back at historical data meant we had to dig through 100s of emails to find specific reports. That was both time consuming and cumbersome.”, Jen says. This led it to being difficult for Regency to quickly and easily explore and evaluate trends from their financing program. ”We run lean.” Jen says, “Some companies have an army of people, and they are doing with 25 people what I am doing with four. With Versatile Insight, we are able to get real time data, allowing our reactions to negative (or positive) trends to be as nimble as we are as an organization.”
Alveo’s study found that 66% of respondents said that their data scientist spend between 25-50% of their time on “data collection, preparation and quality control”, leading to much of their time being tied up in the post-processing of data — instead of modeling and analyzing the data for actionable insights. 28% also found that the lack of a data cataloging led to “time-consuming data searches or double sourcing”.
Jen notes that their slimmed-down back office is one of Regency’s strongest competitive advantages. ‘We don’t need as much staff as most retailers because our internal infrastructure and use of technology is exceptional, and our proprietary point of sale system is unmatched”. Jen notes that running a lean organization doesn’t come without its challenges, “It’s time consuming to ramp up from a staff perspective. We are taking a serious look at our infrastructure and how we continue to support growth going forward.” One key to this, Jen says, are effective software tools, “the more tools and resources we can take advantage of, the more efficient we are with time, money and resources.”
“At the top of our list for 2021 is better use of existing metrics and application of new ones. We need to be more granular in our interpretation of those numbers, for more robust action planning.” Jen shares that these reports enable her to gain a snapshot of the finance programs performance, react to potential issues and uncover training and coaching opportunities in-store.
“With Versatile Insight it was our goal to ‘make the users the hero’.”
Chief Innovation Officer Versatile Credit
When Versatile Credit was building their new analytics engine, Regency was the ideal candidate to pilot the technology. ‘We’re making this kind of analysis a priority” Jen says. “When you have this type of data in real-time, it’s much more actionable.”
“For retailers, their data is becoming more important than ever,” says Vicki Turjan, President and COO of Versatile Credit. “It was important for us to put the power of this data into the hands of the retailers and build a tool that would provide organizations and stakeholders with actionable data and insights to make informed decisions — quickly, easily and thoroughly.”
In Alveo’s 2021 Analytics Survey, “Integrated data management and analytics – Why it’s the future for financial services” the market data integration and analytics solutions provider polled data scientists in financial service firms across the UK, US and Asia. According to Alveo’s survey, 63% of respondents said their organisation is not currently prepared to combine data and analytics within a single environment, with 38% citing “the need to integrate structured and unstructured data” among their key challenges, making it difficult to drive the decision-making process. Alveo also found that 22% of the respondents said that “lack of contextual information such as data lineage that helps us trust the data” is one of the main data management challenges they face. 39% claimed that large data files and heavy volumes made it difficult to manage and scale potential analytics solutions.
Versatile Insight provides retail partners with real-time data & analytics, customizable dashboards and point-and-click configuration that is designed to enable stakeholders to easily understand and customize to their specific needs. “With Versatile Insight it was our goal to ‘make the users the hero’.” says Bill Kratzer, Chief Innovation Officer of Versatile Credit, “We wanted to help them accomplish their work while spending less time and effort to do so and present them with data, visualizations, key performance indicators (KPIs) and reporting to make their job easier and help elevate their work product.”
“Instead of using Excel as the data analytics tool, with a quick change of the criteria here, I instantly have the data I need from Versatile’s dashboard; this gives us the capability to select a certain brand, the total company or a particular provider and then aggregate that data in a much more efficient way”; Jen says, “Each user finds different metrics important, so this interface gives everyone the ability to customize what’s important to them.”
Alveo’s study found that 66% of respondents said that their data scientist spend between 25-50% of their time on “data collection, preparation and quality control”
From Alveo’s survey “Integrated data management and analytics – Why it’s the future for financial services”
“Some companies have an army of people, and they are doing with 25 people what I am doing with four.”
VP Finance Regency Management Services
With Regency Management Service’s portfolio spanning four brands, Regency Furniture, Ashley HomeStore, Raley’s Furniture and Marlo Furniture, it’s important for them to understand how their brands compete with and complement each other. Jen says that, in at least one case, they even have competing brands sharing the same parking lot. With Versatile Insight’s dashboard and comparison tools Jen is able to quickly analyze performance across regions, stores and brands. “It’s interesting to understand the differences between the customer bases literally sharing a parking lot, and how they’re using financing.” Jen says, ‘We’ll have a lot more insight about our guests, what they’ve qualified for, who the preferred partners are and how much they are spending”.
“There’s a certain amount of analysis paralysis that takes place in any Finance Department. However, there are some data points that are better visualized in chart or graph form, versus seeing a list of numbers. Sometimes it’s good to just be able to log into something and see it, rather than having to create the charts and then analyze it on your own. That’s one of the things I like about the portal, I can always see things that move up or down, and I can drill down from there if I need to, without having to create everything myself. These kinds of software tools are a godsend for a large company that runs like a small company, tools like this that help us support our initiatives. The portal helps us visualize past performance and then forecast based on historical trends. Financing options coupled with the data in the dashboard help us identify opportunities to grow sales and boost those customer conversions using real time intelligence.”
Jen says that Regency is in the process of setting up an internal company intranet designed to connect their stores, and rolling out Versatile Insight will be a part of that plan. “Right now, financing is actually a large portion of our business. It’s absolutely key to us. It’s important that we’re making sure to maintain good relationships with our partners, that we have good promotional rates and that we’re able to offer that as an alternative to customers who want to buy, and think they can’t afford to.”
Jen says that the recent pandemic has shifted financing and contributed to new trends that the analytics tool is beginning to help them understand, “I think people are a little bit more flushed with cash than we have seen prior, so it’s been interesting to watch that shift in our tender types. We have had a little bit less financing, I think, last year, per store than we have seen before. I’m not sure the exact amount, but I’ll know I can use my new tool to validate that!”
Is your business doing everything it can to leverage the data you’re collecting?
If you would like to learn more about how you can build a financing program that fits your business and customers, while having the tools you need to manage and analyze your finance program, reach out to Versatile Credit today.