Data, data, data. Retailers need it, but don’t always know how to use it. Good customer and store data answer the many questions that arise when crafting successful sales strategies, for today and in the future.
According to a study by Marketing Charts, retailers should be engaging their customers based on their needs and expectations. There are lots of needs to be met, and many retailers are not using data to increase potential loyalty.
Why? There is a great deal of data to sift through to find relevant insights. Michelle Portal, owner of Segal 50, a small fashion and housewares boutique is using her point of sale to gather the data she needs to create targeted campaigns and increase her sales.
“Although I remembered my best customers, I couldn’t remember everything they bought, or what they bought the last time they visited my store,” she said. “I was missing sales opportunities and chances to connect.”
After upgrading her POS, she discovered what data could be useful to increase her bottom line. “While I rang out customers, I could put notes, assign loyalty programs, see their past transactions,” she said. “I had the data at my fingertips, right there in the register.”
Another important data tool for every retailer is the ability to run specific reports. Portal used Pose’s inventory management system to track her best and worst selling items, with positive results. “When I knew what I what was selling, I was able to expand my business,” she said. “Now I have doubled my amount of suppliers, because I am organized and know what sells.”
Segal 50 used their store data is to pull out these various insights and test them. They utilized management capabilities to run reports on specific products while viewing all customer information in the register.
Although multiple tools could be used to accomplish these tasks, she chose to get her data through her point of sale. “It was just so easy,” she said. “It streamlined both my management and customer efforts.”
Stationed in Raleigh, NC, ProSharp Skate Services owner David Laszlo has used Pose to build a long list of loyal customers and keep his business running efficiently. With easy access to customer data in the register, Laszlo knows who is buying what in his store. “I have a couple teenagers who work for me, and they can attach customer names to sale easily,” he said. “With just a couple clicks, we can get the customer on their way without missing out on data.”
Similar to many other retailers, Laszlo struggles with getting customer contact information at the register. In his business, it is an issue of time. “Most of my customers want to be in and out,” he said. “They come in 20 minutes before a game to get their skates sharpened.”
One easy way he gets around the time constraints is to convince the customer he is saving them time by sending them an e-receipt. “By simply asking, ‘do you want me to email that receipt to you,’ I can get customer email info quickly,” he said. “I frame is as a follow up question, the same as me asking if they need a roll of tape.”
With easy access to transaction and receipt data, Laszlo is able to provide quick and valuable customer support. “With the ability to email receipts easily from Pose, there are no more lost receipts,” he said. “There are times where a customer needs a receipt for a warranty or proof of purchase, and I can get that to them within minutes.”
So what about social and ecommerce data?
While eCommerce data may be important for inventory, it has limitations. eCommerce data neglects building a relationship with customers. As a result, it can be difficult to test different in-store campaigns and learn about customer preferences.
For example, online stores can see what people buy, but that is all. When a customer is buying items that do not fit his/her demographic profile, or shops only a couple times a year, it is difficult to find out why. Take that same situation in-store, and you have the opportunity to build loyalty and discover needs to engage them in the future.
Avoid the Data Trap
As we have seen, the most targeted, need-specific data can help retailers craft sales strategies and eventually increase their sales. On the flip side, there is also a great deal of useless information out there. According to Scott Kuhn, Executive Retail Consultant and Blogger for TheStoreStarters, store owners should avoid getting overwhelmed, and select the data that will drive sales.
“You need to know what you are looking for and how you are going to use the information,” he said. “Wading through data and hoping you ‘bump into something’ meaningful is a pitfall to avoid.”
If you are interested in a web-based POS with accessible data that helps you connect with your customers and increase sales, visit getpose.com and get a free 30-day trial.
About the Author:
Melissa Eisenberg is the Marketing Director at POSE, a web-based point of sale system for small business. She has experience in content marketing, social media, and taking innovative products to market. Leaves no store window unturned.