In the world of today’s business there’s no time for procrastination. Success requires immediate action and instantaneous feedback. In case with retailers, one still notes the use of various techniques, with some relying on data and insights more than others. Lack of coordination of improvement initiatives generate never-ending challenges, such as disconnection of pricing actions from visual merchandising changes. In recent years, after thorough considerations of the obvious benefits of a data-centric approach, more and more retailers start relying on retail analytics and hard data to make smarter decisions toward higher profits and better customer satisfaction. If retailers want to be successful in today’s market, they’ll need to know how to handle the relevant data together to meet business needs and to drive desired consumer behaviour.
So, how can you collect and harness data in your retail business?
Email marketing software If you’re keeping in touch with customers via email, track open rates, clicks, and times of engagement. Your email marketing software should provide this information, so always dig into that data whenever you send out messages to your list.
Foot traffic analytics Why not to consider implementing foot traffic analytics solutions in your store? Tools like people counters and beacons can provide data such as customer counts and dwell times. In this way, you’ll keep track of your traffic, the parts of your store getting the most and least visitors, etc.
Mix and match metrics or reports Analyzing just one metric is like inspecting only one element of the mechanism, while the whole structure needs fixing. As a result, you can’t see the big picture of what’s going on. To get the most out of the data you’re collecting, you should do the in-depth study on how different metrics relate to each other. Rather than looking at each report on its own, see if you can mix and match different ones for deeper insights.
Combine online and offline data Analyzing online and offline data together will give you a comprehensive overview of your customers’ shopping journeys. Keep in mind that consumers tend to pass through multiple channels on their path to purchase, so if you’re storing and analyzing their information in silos, you’re going to get fragmented profiles of your shoppers, and you could miss out on key insights and opportunities.
Combine data with human insight While computers and algorithms are definitely an incredible tool that greatly assists your business, don’t underestimate the power of human insights.
Why to invest into big data talent and systems?
Nowadays, many retailers already use big data and advanced analytics beyond commercial application. Thus, they don’t rely exclusively on traditional sales and margin indicators but use more data and retail analytics (e.g., evaluation of nuanced performance of category managers). Yet, still many of them fail to embed insights from big data into their daily decision making. One of the reasons of this failure is the lack of technical capabilities. In this case, the solution would be to incorporate a skilled data analyst to a team, collaborating closely with category managers. Poor systems and infrastructure are another factor that impedes to take full advantage of data insights. Thus, investment into the right data infrastructure is a key enabler for delivering insights in a timely manner.
What’s the next step in introducing insight-driven approaches?
If your objective is to improve data quality and management, technology and software updates, as well as to introduce a new pricing model, you should definitely focus on embedding new insight-driven approaches in your company. In other words, consider investing into several capabilities that will make the most difference, either through additional training or new hires (recruiting of data analysts or customer-insights managers is highly recommended). All in all, the main idea of these endeavours is the translation of consumer data into actionable commercial insights, so that large retailers across the globe could capture growth throughout all levels of their organization.
In the light of the latest digitalization and globalization processes deeply penetrating all walks of our lives, retailers have got no other choice but to incorporate data into their business decisions. It’s true that adopting certain innovative systems and mastering the way they work will inevitably take some time and sacrifice, but, beyond any doubt, valuable insights and benefits you’ll soon be reaping are worth all the effort and time. As they say, “no pain, no gain.” Luckily, most of the data you’re looking for is already in place, and it’s just a matter of going beyond spreadsheets to find it.