No-one likes flying blind – imagine setting out on a journey with no map or sat nav; imagine planning a day out without checking the weather forecast; imagine going for a job interview without knowing anything about the hiring company.
And yet, that is what I still see some retailers doing when planning their marketing campaigns.
They decide to promote a product without having the full picture about who is buying it, what other products it is bought with, its stock metrics, its profit drivers and the staff who will support the campaign.
The retail answer to the map, weather forecast or company profile is retail data analytics; accurate, real time, detailed information that provides insight into every area of the business. The right retail data analytics, presented through intuitive, accessible dashboards, helps retailers to ensure that their marketing campaigns are based on fact not gut feel. It draws to the surface all the information that is usually locked away deep in the business transactional data – and turns it into actionable insight.
Retailers tell me that they have three big headaches when it comes to planning their marketing campaigns.
- Who are my customers and what do they want?
- Am I selling the right products at the right price?
- How can I be sure that my staff are performing and enhancing my business?
My response is to share with them how retail data analytics can relieve the pain of those headaches:
Customers are the lifeblood of the retailer’s business and it is impossible to take the right business and marketing decisions without an in-depth understanding of who they are and what they want. Without that insight, marketing campaigns become blind, scattergun exercises, which may generate some return, but certainly won’t maximise the return on your precious marketing budget.
Retail business analytics holds the key to understanding customers – capturing information such as the number of visits your customers make to the store, the frequency, timing and duration of those visits. Understanding the areas of the store where they spend their time, the path they take to get there and get out. Data about the amount a customer spends on average with each transaction, what they spent it on a how much profit they generate – these insights are invaluable to help retailers develop more targeted marketing campaigns and provide better customer service.
Insight into products is no less important. Successful marketing campaigns are about getting the right product or mix of products to the right customer at the right time and place, and generating increased profit and sales as a result. Retailers therefore need a detailed understanding, product by product, of the essential indicators such as sell through percentage, stock to sales ratio, turn, days of supply and gross margin ROI. These metrics are the actionable data that allow retailers to set pricing strategies, drive purchasing decisions and manage inventory. They are crucial for planning and measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Staff – no matter how well the campaign is planned at head office, the sales floor is where the customer interacts with the retailer’s brand. The store is where the marketing rubber hits the road – or all too often swerves off into a ditch. For a campaign to be successful, it needs the support of the right staff. But who are the right staff? Retail business analytics allows a retailer to monitor sales and margin data down to store and individual staff member level, showing who is pulling their weight and who is missing the mark in terms of sales performance. It enables decisions on training, leadership roles, bonus payments and how to ensure you are engaging the right people to make a success of your marketing campaigns.
iVend are the leading experts in retail data analytics, with a set of Business Intelligence dashboards which seamlessly plug into iVend Retail, surfacing the key data from within your business systems and making it readily available for business decision making.