Make Insightful DecisionsUsing Your Data
“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” – Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP
Your point-of-sale (POS) system is collecting data every day, but what are you doing with that information? Some people think that collecting and analyzing big data is reserved for large corporations that can afford marketing departments and analysts, however, small businesses can benefit just as much.
The data you collect can be used to do a great deal of significant, proactive and impactful actions for your business’ future survival. You can improve your cash flow, increase profits, manage your front end better with staffing decisions, focus on important metrics to improve operations, and increase focused marketing. These are just a few of the significant key performance indicators for your business to grow.
A Case Study
Let’s meet Lee, one of your loyal and regular customers! You and your staff know him by first name. You recognize his needs and have a sense of what he is looking for by engaging and interacting with him.
Lee has been frequenting your store for years, and by listening to his requests and watching his purchases and interactions, you bring in his favourite products, knowing he will buy from you because you listened. Lee feels that he is relevant to your business. However, Lee has a busy lifestyle, so how do you make his life easier and more convenient while making your business more relevant to him? Letting him know when you have a new scotch for him to try, or a special promotion on one of his favourite products will make him even more loyal.
Having control over the tracking of your inventory allows you to make informed and intelligent decisions
Analyze the answers to these questions: How big is your average sale? (You may be missing opportunities for upselling.) What products are moving slower than others? Why? (You can look for creative ways to sell slow-moving inventory and ensure you don’t buy more of those products.) When are your busy times during the day or week? What times of the week are slower? (You can improve your cash flow by managing the hours the store is staffed during consistently slow periods and improve customer service by adding staff during peak times.)
Having control over the tracking of your inventory allows you to make informed and intelligent decisions on just-in-time inventory or buffer stock. Do you know how long the supply chain takes to fulfill your stock? Tracking your inventory allows you to better control it.
Let’s look at Lee again. Anticipating Lee’s purchases and the timing of his needs will make him feel special, relevant, engaged, and invested in your business. A loyalty program will not only give you great information, it will reward your loyal customers.
Analyzing Social Media and your Website
How can you survive a day without hearing about Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram? Social media and your website are critical to your brand and the future of your business. Analytics show the demographics of your audience so you can market to more people within a particular demographic.
Examine what people are saying about you or your establishment and be sure to reply to both positive and negative reviews. Follow your customers, like their comments to show them you’re paying attention to them, and make note of concerns to improve your service and selection.
Developing Marketing Strategies
Data reports bring you information allowing you to gain insight to deliver timely and powerful marketing messages. As you’re finding out more about your customers, divide your database into the types of products each customer likes and the types of events that interest them, so that when a new product comes in you can instantly let your customers know about it. For example, those customers that enjoy wine tasting events can be delivered a personalized invitation to a special vintner’s event. You can create a feeling of adventure, curiosity and a sense of discovery!
Be sure all of your marketing materials, including e-news flyers, reflect your brand and corporate identity.
Improving your Bottom Line
When you capture and analyze your data you can increase sales, manage your team, control expenses, manage prices, service existing customers and attract new customers. Talk to your service provider and find out the best way to capture the relevant data to achieve your goals.
Tim Shein is Principal, King Business Services Corp. Helping customers with peace of mind for their POS needs and preparing them for their future growth.