Data has become a major priority for retail businesses of all sizes. As technologies that capture and analyze data change, so too do businesses' abilities to put that data into context and draw new insights from it. The internet of things and artificial intelligence are two critical tools for companies when it comes to data collection and analysis. They provide a better understanding of day-to-day operations, inform business decisions, and give valuable customer insights.
Companies capture data in many ways from many sources. Below are three of the most important retail data sets to collect in your store using your point of sale system.
Customer data is a focus area of its own. From consumer behavior to predictive analytics, companies regularly capture, store, and analyze large amounts of data on their consumer base every day. Customer data is big business; it offers a way to better understand and meet your customers' demands. By analyzing customer behavior, as well as their reviews and feedback, brands and retailers can modify their digital presence, goods, or services to better suit the current marketplace.
Not only do companies use consumer data to improve the consumer experience as a whole, they also use data to make decisions on an individualized level, according to Brandon Chopp, digital manager for iHeartRaves. "Our most important source of marketing intelligence comes from understanding customer data and using it to improve our website functionality," said Chopp. "Our team has improved the customer experience by creating customized promotions and special offers based on customer data. Since each customer is going to have their own individual preferences, personalization is key.” Once you've gotten to know your customers through these metrics, you can better determine how to advertise to them, what promotions and events are most incentivizing, and which kinds of retail loyalty programs to implement.
See more: 8 Ways to Collect Retail Customer Data
Since each customer is going to have their own individual preferences, personalization is key.
This one should be a no-brainer for you brands and retailers! Effective analysis of sales trends can have a major impact on how you run your business. Through your data, you can gain valuable insight into your operations and—through key capabilities like real-time updates and data visualization—you can make better-informed business decisions.
Businesses are realizing the importance of sales data analysis, and they are turning to intelligent tech tools to ensure their data is up to the minute and that they are getting the most from it to inform their next decision. Business intelligence tools, like robust reporting functionality, aggregate your data in one place, allowing you to create personalized dashboards to see the exact reports you’re looking for.
Not only do retail management solutions like such make it easy to manage and analyze your sales data, but they allow you to review and compare your numbers to competitors. More companies than ever are striving to be data-centric to help them compete in a marketplace that includes constant disruptive threats. Insights are only powerful when they support change, so you need to be using the information you gather to inspire meaningful action in your business.
See more: 3 Key Retail Sales Reports to Run Daily
In the past, a lot of HR data went unused or, if it was used, it wasn’t utilized to its full potential. Employers were sitting on a mountain of personal data from like ages ranges, job histories, current residences and more. Now, in the era of big data and analytics, companies are turning their data into insights. They can predict when employees will leave, where to recruit the most suitable candidates, how to identify and attract those candidates, and how to keep them happy once they become employees. HR data is more valuable than ever before, and a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 82% of organizations planned to either begin or increase their use of big data in HR before the end of 2019.
Within the POS, each employee should have a customer profile just as any other customer would, so management is able to easily track employee purchases (a great way to see if they might be abusing a discount policy, among other things). And with a retail management system that offers custom fields and reporting, brands and retailers can create employee-specific fields within their customer profiles and use this data to better understand and evaluate the business impact of people, make HR processes and operations more efficient and effective, and improve the overall well-being and effectiveness of employees. All of this can have a huge impact on a retail company’s ability to achieve its goals, and makes HR data invaluable for the future.
For retail companies to grow, adapt to the market, and stay competitive, data must be a major part of their day-to-day, as well as their big picture decisions. The wealth of data that brands and retailers can obtain is no longer the issue, but organizing and analyzing the data to make the right moves will continue to separate those who are thriving from those who are surviving.
Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, long-distance cyclist, and lifelong advocate for women in business from Philadelphia. Tech and business are his lifeblood, but he's also a fanatic of brewpubs and just about every sports team in Philadelphia.
Topics: Retail Analytics