Optimise your stores, using in-store analytics
In 2021, there were approximately five million people employed by businesses in the retail sector in the United Kingdom, with 2.5 million people employed in businesses that employed 500 or more people. An estimated 18% of these employees were senior officials or managers. There are approximately 316,400 retail outlets in the UK – and retail sales reached £421 billion in 2021, with more than a third of consumer spending going through shops. Using data from a variety of sources to optimise your stores, can potentially increase your footprint without necessarily having to lay out the cost of physical expansion.
Optimise your performance
You could expand your footprint in a number of ways – physically, by ensuring that your store is fully optimised, and that both your staff and your products are located in the right areas, verbally – by scheduling promotions or events to increase brand awareness and word of mouth with your in-store customers – and potential customers who are passing by, and optionally – online, by having a marketing strategy that includes an online presence (even if you don’t wish to conduct sales online, it is still vital to be recognised) which will give you a bigger reach and potentially a larger customer base.
Going about this isn’t as simple as just swapping your store around, or randomly promoting products until something sells – these approaches could see you waste time, effort and budget. To truly increase your footprint, you need to take a structured approach.
Good management gets results
Good management is a fundamental fact in business, not just with your staff – but in all aspects of the company, from purchasing, staffing, advertising, how you lay out your store – and even how you conduct yourself with your customer service. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to management may fit some of these areas, but will potentially leave your business lacking in others.
Tailoring your approach to each individual section, and having specific plans in place, could see an increase in footfall and potential sales. Whether you are launching a new product, advertising the sale of a particular brand, or aiming to acquire repeat custom, a careful plan is necessary for each element.
Your managers are an important asset to consider when devising these plans. These individuals over-see your staff, sales data and in most cases are well versed in any customer issues that have arisen in store. Their input provides front-line data that should not be ignored.
Feedback from your customers is perhaps one of the most important streams of actionable data to consider when determining how to use your In-store analytics. This information will often provide you with the key elements your planning needs.
This information isn’t just limited to direct interaction with your customer – although getting direct feedback is important. Using data analytics, you can study how people are using your store – where is the highest concentration of footfall, are there areas that don’t see much traffic, what brands are attracting the most attention – this is just some of the information that your customers provide you with simply by entering your store.
This data can be turned into actionable planning – potentially allowing you the opportunity to increase your footprint in-store by rearranging sections, altering the layout of the displays or shelving, and allowing the movement of slow-selling items into high traffic areas.
Optimising your internal footprint will allow you to make the best use of your store’s space.
Making the best use of your data
Gathering data can be a time consuming and somewhat confusing process – firstly you need to decide what data streams you’ll be collecting; customer testimonials and feedback, complaints or issues, use of in-store loyalty cards, purchases, returns, time customers spend in store, popular brands, the number of people entering then exiting immediately, interactions with any online presence – these are only some of the forms of data that you as a business have access to – gathering this information together and making sense of it is a vital task if you want to remain competitive in today’s market.
Once you have this data, you need to make sure it’s stored in a logical and easy to understand manner – if your data can’t be updated regularly, or is difficult to use – then it becomes worthless.
Applying your data is the most crucial step, using techniques such as performance and location analytics, and people counting; will give you the vital tools you need to make the most of your data – allowing you to make smart decisions in key areas, such as: store layout, purchasing decisions, product placement, staff scheduling, and more.
Improving your company by utilising a multi-stream, data led business plan could potentially give rise to an increased footprint, which in turn could see a larger volume of customers entering your store, and better sales as a result.