Small retailers who think analysing data is only important for larger retailers should think again… Deciphering sales trends, customer information and utilising retail data is a strategy that all retailers
should must employ. Technology has created smarter shoppers – it’s time to become smarter shopkeepers.
We were very privileged to be asked to speak at the ‘Add To Basket’ Conference in Dublin a few weeks ago, an event organised by IBEC Retail Skillnet in association with Retail Ireland to highlight the urgent need for retailers with a physical presence in Ireland to get a larger share of the country’s growing online market.
We had some of the industry’s brightest minds from a number of Irish and international organisations including Mags Kennedy (Facebook), Mark Barry (Google), Roisin Woods (McElhinneys) and our very own Marketing Manager, Aaron Flanagan deliver presentations, describing the benefits trading online currently offers. (You can watch Aaron’s presentation below)
Whilst the conference aimed to highlight the urgent need for retailers with a bricks-and-mortar store to get a larger share of the growing online market by going multichannel, it was also an opportunity to discuss the growing importance that connected data plays in this rapidly changing retail environment.
Let me explain.
In a galaxy not so far away technology is rapidly changing everything, relentlessly and without apology to those who can’t keep up. It’s one of the few things that never stands still, with advancements happening on a daily basis. That’s evolution folks, and it isn’t going to stop. One area that has experienced a large deal of development over the last few years is analytical retail.
Retailers are more data-driven than ever before, taking advantage of POS and e-commerce data in new and innovative ways. Analytics have become one of the most powerful tools available to retailers, providing more insights into their business, their customers and their competitors. The opportunity to achieve competitive advantage from “analytical retail” is enormous and is crucial for small businesses that want to compete with the larger companies.
Fortunately with the advent of cloud computing, small retailers can now take advantage of new and powerful technological business management tools, including some that didn’t exist even a decade ago such as cloud based point of sale systems.
Traditionally in retail when a sale was made, there was a plethora of information exchanged, but for far too long, it was not recorded. However cloud based POS in contrast to POS systems of old collects all of this information and puts all of the important data like sales, customer details, products and other business intelligence up there in that great big cloud, allowing you to manipulate it at will, pass it through other applications and much more from any internet connected computer. Now instead of wading through spreadsheets in a darkened stock room beside some noisy server, you can check your sales at home, or half way up a mountain if you really feel compelled to do so!
To illustrate this, lets use AirPOS for example. With AirPOS, retailers have one master inventory database that brings together the online and offline areas of their business - turning the traditional bricks-and-mortar store into the clicks-and-mortar setting that was considered a pipedream at best. Our powerful multi-channel software is helping retailers by providing real-time visibility across inventory, sales data, financial records and customer information, from both in-store and web sales at a price point that is the most affordable in the cloud ePOS marketplace.
With these sorts of analytical tools available, retailers of all sizes can dig into their data like never before, discovering those vital statistics needed to really understand sales patterns, best sellers, employee performance as well as helping develop closer relationships with customers and balance inventory better.
However the core value of retail analytics doesn’t lie in the sophistication of the technology, but rather in it’s end result - providing retailers with more insights into their business, their customers and their competitors.
For small retailers, unlocking value in this fragmented world by harnessing retail analytics is vital now, more than ever before and it’s only by exploring, exploiting and employing this untapped wealth of knowledge in the retail arena will small retailers be able to make better business decisions and compete with big business.
Little data makes a big difference.