No more crystal balling for smaller retailers

Data governance

Some SME retail business owners and managers still work from gut feel, relying on instinct when it comes to predicting the sales success of certain products or deciding which marketing campaigns to implement. Others take a scattergun approach, working on a “try it and see” mentality. This was all well and good a decade or so ago, but as the retail landscape becomes increasingly competitive, crystal balling just won’t cut it any longer. Nor does it need to.

Retailers in 2018 have more data intelligence at their fingertips than ever before, the problem now is consolidating that information and turning it into actionable insights. Sure, you can pull internal customer and order data, access Google Analytics, social-media advertising stats and external online marketplace sales figures, but making sense of that siloed information is easier said than done. Taking on your own multi-channel analytics is a manual process, which is not only time consuming, but also prone to error — and what’s the point of all that work if the results don’t reflect the reality?

Putting power in the hands of the little guys

Once the realm of only large-scale enterprises, today retailers of all sizes are realising the value of accurate, consolidated business intelligence data and how it can be used to dramatically improve sales activity and overall business performance.

In-depth analytics tools can pull information from all available sources (including retail operations, website and advertising platforms) to give you clear insights on the things that matter; your products, your customers and the effectiveness of your marketing channels.

These analytics tools, such as Neto Analytics Studio (NAS), act effectively as a business intelligence warehouse. NAS centralises data from various platforms and makes it easy to draw out insights that deliver a whole-of-business view. As a result, setting KPIs, tracking performance, being agile and responsive, becomes much simpler.

What’s the use of all that data?

Data is useless if it’s not being seen by the people that need to see it, or if it arrives too late to take appropriate action, but a good analytics system will provide inbuilt reporting functionality, ensuring that the right information gets to the right people in real time. This includes data on the lifetime value of each customer, when a customer is at risk of being lost, or which marketing channels and campaigns are generating the highest customer lifetime value and have the lowest customer acquisition cost. You’ll also know immediately which products are generating the most profit versus those that are hurting your bottom line.

A good analytics tool should also come as an integrated feature within your retail management platform, not as a additional plug-in or cost. Analytics are not an afterthought, they are integral to running a successful retail business. If access to accurate customer, product and marketing information is important to your business, it might be time to put down your crystal ball, ignore your gut and start acting on insights based on hard data and facts.

Ryan Murtagh, CEO, ‎Neto