The development of a new program to drive traffic to Christian stores has raised old concerns about data visibility and how data is used competitively. Get It Local Today! is an online referral tool that enables consumers shopping at publishers’ websites to find a local Christian store to pick up and purchase product and not pay shipping charges—diverting online sales to local Christian stores.

Part of the program reveals in-store inventory for searched products so consumers know a product is in stock before picking it up. Inventory is reported through CROSS:SCAN, the industry’s data reporting system. On hand inventory data is the only retailer data visible through Get It Local Today!.

Data security has been an indie retailer concern for many years since early data-reporting systems led to the creation of CROSS:SCAN in 2005. Christian retailers asked CBA to create CROSS:SCAN to help them better understand product demand to improve inventory and sales performance. Among many constraints retailers mandated on the sales data is that data are only reported in aggregate summaries, not by units, not by store or region, plus other requirements.

CROSS:SCAN data is the foundation for CBA’s Christian MARKET best-seller lists.

At the time, retailer constraints aimed to prohibit big-box and internet-only retailers from gaining unfair advantage copying Christian-store trends. Only reporting Christian-store retailers see aggregated CROSS:SCAN data. Since then, some retailers have allowed more open data by reporting their sales to other data-reporting services, such as BookScan and the New York Times lists. This reporting may result in benefits such as seeing additional bookselling data from other channels and sources or making it easier to book author talent into the store because sales are reported to national systems and help raise unit numbers for other best-seller lists.

However, CROSS:SCAN starts with the assumption that retailers own their data and individually have full control over what happens to it.

In addition to product codes and titles, weekly CROSS:SCAN data reports include unit sales, on-hand inventory, retail price points, and various status calculations based on prior week and other comparable-period comparisons. Retailers who use CROSS:SCAN data find that they have fewer out-of-stocks, better in-stock rates for high-demand products, and improved buying to optimize inventory performance.

Because of internal limitations and budget concerns, CBA outsourced data collection in 2015 to ParableConnect, a division of The Parable Group. Under a strong contractual arrangement, data reported to CROSS:SCAN is not visible to suppliers or other groups unless retailers specifically allow it or share it themselves.

The basic CROSS:SCAN system is free to retailers, but they may choose to purchase additional analytical and marketing services from ParableConnect’s parent company, The Parable Group.

Retailers also must give permission for their CROSS:SCAN data to be reported to Get It Local Today! through a separate agreement with the website, operated by The Covenant Group. The Covenant Group is working cooperatively with CBA and The Parable Group to develop the Get It Local Today! website and the consumer referral program to drive traffic to Christian stores.

Get more information on Get It Local Today!

Click to see the Get It Local Today! agreement.