Retail can be a volatile space – at times, it’s a feast-or-famine situation. Many times, a sharp decrease in sales are due to factors outside of human control such as bad weather, product recall, new competition, changing consumer preferences, etc., but there are plenty of ways to combat the bottom-line-eating “slump” in sales.
Your business exists to provide goods and services to your customers as well as, of course, growing your ROI. Knowing how competitive the retail sector is, you must be thick-skinned to successfully grow a business in this cutthroat industry.
But you also have to be innovative.
Consider the following actions that, done right, will boost your sales, customer base and ultimately your ROI.
Analyze your POS data
These reports help you identify changing consumer preferences and new trends
Consumers can be fickle. Here today, gone tomorrow, taking their dollars with them. You have to be able to keep up with these changes and act quickly to shore up any cracks that begin showing. Keeping up with ever-changing landscapes is the only way to continue to serve your customers in a way that makes them happy, thus more willing to give their loyalty (dollars!). Analyzing and reporting POS data lets you see daily fluctuations in buying trends, stock availability, and shopper behaviors and give you the ability to jump into action immediately to adapt to any changes you see.
The problem that often crops up is that gathering, arranging, and reporting your POS and EDI data is often quite cumbersome and time-consuming. Even with a dedicated person doing all of the aggregation and reporting, it might be too late to act when you finally get your data.What’s Monday’s data going to do to help you on Thursday? Luckily, there are cutting-edge technologies that do it all for you. Automatically. Up to the minute. Accelerated Analytics has been helping retail brands boost their bottom line for the past 16 years by automating the process of gathering, analyzing and reporting on the most valuable asset you have – your POS and EDI 852 data.
Optimize your inventory levels
The way you manage your inventory can make or break your business. Not carrying enough product can cause stock-outs and lost dollars. Your customers will shift their loyalty to another store that does seem to have the products they need. On the flip side, carrying too much inventory can eat into your ROI, not to mention take up valuable floor space. You also have to consider returns/exchanges/refunds as potential interruptions to the sales flow. Accelerated Analytics’ predictive and prescriptive software can instantly consider POS and other raw data to produce actionable insights that help you manage your inventory and grow your bottom line.
Customize the Customer Experience
Shoppers have their heads on a swivel these days; just doing a quick 180 spin will yield dizzying numbers of stores offering the same, or similar, items. So how can you make sure that these shoppers choose YOUR store or YOUR brand over the other available options?
Make them feel special.
Offer promos, coupons, loyalty points and more that are geared toward that specific customer. One size fits all doesn’t apply here; you will have to implement some workflows in order to know who wants what and how they want what they want. Find out how to fill their needs.
The way to learn who your shoppers are and what they prefer, you will need to dive into your POS data. This information is more incredibly valuable than one would think – you can form a pretty complete picture of your customers by examining your point of sale data, or rather, reports compiled from said data. We do that.
Targeted ads are also an obvious option. For ads to work, however, you have to make sure that you are placing them appropriately. If a customer has never in their life bought a pair of 12-inch garden shears, why would they want one now? Maybe that person has been researching gardening tools & techniques, therefore, this sort of ad would be appropriate. However, if the consumer had been searching for say, high-end luxury jewelry, they likely don’t care to see an advertisement for gardening tools. Data can help with that, too.
We know that your goal is the same for each individual customer – to provide value that is relevant to them and that meets their specific needs – so we make it our life’s mission to help you get your customer’s loyalty and satisfaction. Data analytics are invaluable to a brand such as yours. You can simply open your dashboard and begin checking out the reports you’ve received from Accelerated Analytics and then decide which actions to take that will be in the best interest of the shopper and your bottom line.
Foster lasting relationships with your customers
47 percent of customers reported that they would take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service. This number has fluctuated to as high at 89% at times, illuminating the fact that it’s just too risky to take your customers for granted. Your business exists because of customers. No buyer, no seller.
One thing to consider implementing is a POS-tracked customer loyalty program. The premise of a loyalty program is that customers will keep coming back if you’re offering them better deals based on how much they spend with you or how often they visit your business. Such a program is not just a great way to encourage repeat business and nurture a relationship with your customer, but when taken in combination with other factors, like inventory, it also helps you to get a fuller picture of shopping trends, your customer base (demographically), and much more. Your POS system is actually a gold mine.
Don’t brush off social media
Social media is your friend. Not only is just about everyone on it, on one platform or another, but, let’s just say it how it is – the cost begins at FREE. Such an easy-to-use and cost effective method of marketing your business, brand, service, etc. cannot just be ignored. Also key is the personal touch social media offers. You can engage with your customers and potential customers directly through posting on social media in the form of polls, videos, comments, chats, etc. Engaging your followers tends to become a snowball effect, gathering more and more interest as long as you keep moving (posting). You can post special offers for your Twitter followers, announce sales early to your Facebook fans, or talk shop with your LinkedIn connections. There’s the visual aspect, too. Enticing photographs of your merchandise can be posted to Instagram, special codes can be shared to your Snapchat adds…there’s really no limit to what you can do on social media. Simply getting your name in front of such a large audience is invaluable. And for the low price of free, it’s a win-win.
One final note: Mix it up! Take full advantage of social media. Write blogs. Run ads. Develop a loyalty program. And for the love of the shopping gods, keep your numbers in check. Utilize a reporting system to make sure you’re on track with projected inventory levels, sales numbers, staffing, etc. This will save you a lot of money and a LOT of headaches in the long run.
Learn more about how Accelerated Analytics can help you keep your numbers on track and grow your business. Or, contact us directly. We can answer your questions, schedule a demo of our reporting services, and make recommendations based upon the size and scope of your company.
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