Data and insights: The superpowers that help retailers understand customer behaviors
Think back to what some would call the “good old days.” You own a small store and have the luxury of knowing almost everyone that shops there. You know when they shop, what they like, and most importantly, what they consistently purchase. Times and the retail industry may have drastically changed but understanding your customer base is just as important today. Some would argue even more so. With the retail climate constantly changing, it may feel as if you need superpowers to identify and know your customers’ habits. You do: the superpowers of data and insights.
If you know your customers, you succeed
Online retailers have always had a clear understanding of their customers. They have the luxury of knowing who’s on their site, how long they’re there, what they bought and how often they return. While it’s often felt like a guessing game for brick-and-mortars, now physical retailers can also harness the power of big data. Gathering data and insights like who your customers are, how they found you, what they’re interested in buying and when they’re likely to visit your store, helps retailers make the right business decisions. Pinpointing customers’ preferences enables retailers to better curate services and the assortment of products they carry. Having insights into the latest product trends – the hottest items customers can’t wait to get their hands on – leads to choosing the right products and marketing them to the right people. Data also reveals popular pricing so retailers can competitively price their products and services. It’s all about having an extra edge to optimize sales.
How to use big data to get the inside scoop
Big data is just that: a giant world of technology that helps businesses gather important information. Similar to an omni-channel approach, the best tactic is to employ as many forms of data gathering as possible. Important data on customers and their spending and shopping habits can come from your point of sales (POS), banks and credits card companies, customer surveys and even loyalty programs.
Having insights into the latest product trends – the hottest items customers can’t wait to get their hands on – leads to choosing the right products and marketing them to the right people.
Want to know when your store is busiest, and how to optimize your staff? It can be as simple as store traffic counters, electronic systems that measure customer traffic. More sophisticated counters will even capture traffic by hour, location and individual entrances. This can help you make data-driven decisions on overhead and labor.
Retailers can also use data mining to understand search engine data, which can reveal shopping queries and the top things people are looking for on search engines. Having that information can help you determine product trends in the marketplace, along with sourcing and identify new customers.
Robotics, smart fixtures and artificial intelligence (AI) can give retailers an up-close look at their customers and what’s happening in their stores. For example, a robot greeting customers with an attached smart camera can pick up details like a regular customer who always wears ruby red lipstick. Maybe that information nudges you to carry that color lipstick. Facial recognition and smart fixtures can track a customer’s age, gender and buying habits, offering valuable information for better service and customized products. Video surveillance monitors how customers move throughout a store, zeroing in on where they stop, what they look at and eventually buy.
So, you have all the data. Now what? Gathering data without insights, analytics and correlations is useless; that’s what makes our tools meaningful. The software solutions a retailer or brand chooses is of the utmost importance in understanding customers, sales, inventory and trends. Software can ingest all that data and information into reporting systems. Those reporting systems then offer usable information on sales and other important components of your business from inventory management to product selection.
There is a big movement now to optimize retailers’ SKUs, or stock keeping unit mix. Insights can help determine the maximum revenue-generating SKUs and their placement in the store. A good example of this would include data showing that a display tablet or computer at a retail store isn’t working 17% of the time. By taking it a step further with analytics, you may discover a dramatic impact on sales; and getting those tablets to consistently work, increases sales. By not making that correlation, you’re leaving all the value on the table.
Like X-ray vision, these superpowers can help retailers see what’s really going on in their business, and then harness the powers for the good of everyone.
To learn more about Brett Beveridge, his company, T-ROC Global, his awards, speaking opportunities and upcoming ForbesBooks launch, visit www.brettbeveridge.com.
The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC Global) is home to four sales solutions companies that enable clients to fulfill all of their sales performance needs. The companies are: The Retail Outsource (TRO), Mobile Insight (MI), The Consumer Insight (TCI), and SYMBITS.
Brett Beveridge is the founder and chief executive officer for The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC Global). Beveridge is a serial entrepreneur who builds businesses from the ground up. Since founding T-ROC Global, the company has evolved to become a leader in the wireless, electronics, software and retail industries.
Source: South Florida Business Journal