Data is one of the most unused assets in our industry. Currently, when it comes to decision-making in our stores, many of us use our gut instinct or our best guess. But what about using the facts?

These are available to you, and can make your store more profitable, better stocked and more efficient.

There are truly only three levers that affect sales, and utilizing the data tools available to you can help with each of them:

1. The number of customers you have

2. The number of visits you get from those customers

3. The amount of money spent per visit

Pretty much every decision you make will influence at least one of these levers.

NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS

You’re ready to send a catalog, so you decide to mail it to the people who have shopped most recently. This won’t get you the best response. Your customers could be mailed smarter, utilizing your sales and customer data to find those who are most likely to respond, which would get you a much better ROI.

NUMBER OF CUSTOMER VISITS

Your staff adds a new customer to your mailing list, and then your strategy is to hope they come back again. But because of mailing schedules it could be months before they receive a catalog from you. Instead, why not enlist the services of a  data team that will automatically send a postcard to them, thanking them for shopping in your store and inviting them to come back?

Not only have you guaranteed these customers aren’t overlooked, you’ve just increased the opportunity to turn them into regular shoppers.

MONEY SPENT

You’ve sent a catalog to your customers, but have to check products one item at a time to ensure you have them all in-stock before your promotion starts. And then during the sale, you need to do the same so you don’t run out. Finding a service with a dynamic, online tool that does this for you would save you more time than you can imagine.

In my opinion, the best place to start letting data influence your day-to-day business is with your mailing list. In all my years of analyzing data, the biggest  correlation I’ve seen to store sales is active customer count (i.e. the number of customers who have shopped in the last 18 months). The problem we face is that every mailing list is in a constant state of atrophy. Customers move away, they start shopping your competitors, or they just forget about you. And we need to reverse this.

Picture all of your customers in a funnel. There is a constant trickle out the bottom and you need to consistently add more in the top. This will lead to an increase in your sales. And whether it be new customers or existing customers, data can help bring them in, and keep them coming back.

If you’re going to be at UNITE 2016, swing by booth 727 to see me. I’d love to chat about data with you and how it can help you grow your sales. Or feel free to email me anytime at:

erik.ernstrom@ parable.com