John Coyle, VP of Sales ADD Systems
Running a successful convenience store means staying on top of shifting demand. It’s a simple concept really – keep your loyal customers and attract new ones by having the products they want. The difficult part is staying in sync with that demand, especially in a quickly shifting landscape. Thankfully, the answer is simple: look at your data.
How Can You Leverage Your Data?
You collect customer preference data on your Point of Sale (POS) device every time you make a sale. Your data is a valuable resource, and you can gain a great deal of insight into customer demand by analyzing it. Today’s software solutions that include business intelligence reporting can make it simple for you to:
Understand Customer Expectations – What’s selling and what’s not? There’s nothing like a quick up-to-the-minute snapshot of your top and bottom selling items to inform you about customer demand. Pay attention to these changes. They can help you pinpoint important must-have items versus those that are just taking up valuable shelf space. Armed with this information, you can take action, develop promotions and make new product decisions to have what your customer want.
Look for Trends – Movement in top and bottom ranking items can show you some trends, but you can see even more through comparison analysis. Using a date range comparison, you can see changes from month-to-month, year-to-year, or any date range to understand how your products are moving and make the appropriate decisions.
Analyze Time of Day Activity – Time of day analysis is also helpful. Your data can tell you what time of day you have the most traffic, and how well different products sell during those times. You can then make informed decisions to add new offerings and try new promotions to meet customer needs.
Understand Baskets – Your data can also tell you what products are selling well together. Leverage this information to create successful promotions. Take a high demand item and create a promotion to piggyback on its success. Your data can tell you if there is a high probability of success.
Try New Products – Looking at your data, you can see patterns as customer preferences changes. Use these trends to confidently make informed decisions to try new products. After the change, continue to use your data to closely watch their performance. With easy and automatic monitoring, you can be nimble and pivot away fast from any test product that does not perform well. You have to try new products to maintain customer loyalty, but now it can be done with minimal risk.
Now make it easy!
You have data and now you have reporting, but how do you make it easy? Add automation and efficiency.
Dashboards – You need to have a window into your store activity, to help you make quick, informed decisions. A customizable dashboard can do just that. All in one place, you see your important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and, ideally, have the ability to drill-down on any figure to get to the details behind the number.
Subscriptions – With today’s software solutions you can create report subscriptions, so that they are run with your criteria and emailed to you automatically, on a regular schedule. Want to keep a close eye on this week’s sales compared to last week’s? The report can be waiting in your inbox every morning.
Exceptions – Wouldn’t it be easy if you could just look at the information that matters most? With exception reporting, you can. Rather than weeding through pages of reports, your time is spent efficiently, only looking at data that falls outside your acceptable range.
Notifications – Take that one step further with automatic notifications. You can be automatically alerted when something happens outside your predefined, acceptable range.
Make Informed Decisions
All this data and reporting gives you actionable information. Now you can make informed decisions to stay in tune with demand. You can confidently make product decisions based on real activity and actual trends in your store, and you can do that confidently, knowing you have, and will continue to have, a close eye on performance.
With this knowledge, you can also leverage your relationship with your vendors to stay in sync with demand. Now you can use your store data, along with your vendor data, to work cooperatively with your suppliers to fill your shelves with the right products.
Your Data Can be Your Competitive Advantage
Your data can be your competitive advantage. With the right business intelligence reporting, you get actionable information that can keep you in lock step with customer demand. You can solidify their loyalty by showing that you understand them, offering the products they want right now and anticipating what they will want in the future. All you need to look at is your data.