5 Ways Data Can Help Pet Specialty Retailers Maximize Sales
The new age of retail requires that retailers have access to data to be able to grow their businesses successfully, and the analytic tools you need to run your business are now more accessible than ever. Do you have the analytics you need to be able to see your future, or are you using a crystal ball?
We have seen retail change significantly in the past few years. There has been a lot of chatter about apocalyptic times and how retail has finally seen its end—but that’s not the case. What does have to change is the way you run your business. While you’re worried about all things digital, growing social networks and how to personalize your business, the one thing that you need before you do all of that is to think about data. Analytics has always been important to make sales happen, but in today’s age, data for analytics is a requirement to be successful.
So what kinds of data do you need? Up until now, where customers live, where they come from and what they do when they’re shopping in your store has been good enough. But in the new age of information and online and offline shopping, there’s a lot more data to be had to maximize sales these days. Let’s start with some basics.
POS data and analytics: Almost every retailer has a point-of-sale (POS) system now. Are you taking advantage of the analytics that come with your POS system? Some of the most successful retailers in the world measure almost everything—sales by hour, what sells with each item (shopping basket analysis) and weeks-on-hand inventory projections. Depending on what you’re using, almost all POS systems have analytic reports that you can take advantage of. Use these to see where you have inventory that you need to move and what products you could capitalize on.
Pricing Analysis: This isn’t necessarily a different tool—you’ll have to derive it from your POS reporting system, but you’ll want to check from time to time to make sure the level of discounts that you’re providing make sense. Sometimes as retailers, we get into a routine and give the same level of discount, when maybe a little bit less will bring the customer in anyway. Optimizing your pricing strategy keeps money in your pocket and consumers coming through the door.
Google Analytics: These analytics should be basics for anyone who has a webpage. Using Google Analytics is free and requires a small snippet to be placed on your website. Once you’ve done that, you can start to track who comes to your site and where they come from. You’ll need this data to be effective at any sort of advertising you’re thinking about doing. Google has some basic courses you can take to help you learn about the Google panel, including how to set it up and start reading the data you’re getting.
Consumer Behavior: Wondering what your consumer is doing on your website? Google Analytics tells you where your customers are coming from, and there is a whole host of tools that tell you what your customer is doing when they’re on your website. This is important if you’re selling products on your site and you’re not sure why your consumers aren’t making purchases while on the site. Applications such as Optimizely or Woopra allow you to see what your customer is clicking on and where the customer journey is falling down.
Social Data: I’m going to skip the ordinary stuff about using Facebook analytics. You’ll get the hang of that. (If you’re not using that, you should be!) One of the benefits of social media is that it brings you closer to your customer every day. Instagram, in particular, has a fun set of tools in Instagram Stories that allows you to ask customers what they want and how they feel about things. Take some time to devise a set of questions, and start asking. You’ll learn things about your customer that allow you to sell more effectively.
These are the basics. There is a lot more data to be had, and a lot more to learn about your customer. Once you get into writing ads, tools like AdEspresso can help you learn about what interests your consumers have and what interests tie to which locations.
Today’s retail is an evolution that involves a customer that is more sophisticated than any other generation of consumer. Whether you’re an online business, brick-and-mortar or both, your next customer could come from anywhere. The tools outlined above are going to help you find those customers and, quite potentially, ones that you never knew existed. The omnichannel retailer truly comes alive here—the ability to find and market to consumers all over the world will help you to continue to stay ahead of the rest of retail.
As a retail industry expert and co-host of “This Commerce Life” podcast, Phil Chang tracks emerging trends and insights that could impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Chang helps brands and retailers adapt to the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. With three kids, he’s more familiar with gen Z than he’d care to admit. A frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the U.S., across multiple verticals, you’ll find him searching for unique local businesses everywhere he goes.