How Retail Management Can Use Real-Time Business Intelligence to Increase Profitability
Whether managing one retail store or a 100+ chain of stores, counting people is the basis for sound retail management. Customers come and go, and their shopping and buying behaviors can give retail managers at the local and corporate level a wealth of business intelligence (BI) for future decision-making.
Corporate retail managers at Vanity, a junior apparel retailer with 185 locations across the country, were looking for a solution to better manage and centralize the business intelligence collected in traffic, sales staff shifts, sales transactions and other elements of retail management. The data analysis was laborious, often taking 8 to 10 hours to create relevant metrics, with reports coming from separate information sources; in other words, a nightmare to tackle and some uncertainty in the results.
In seeking a faster and more reliable solution, Vanity turned to salesfloorLIVE to create a business intelligence tool that would help them:
-track traffic by day and hour
-measure sales associates’ conversion rates in both selling and up-selling
-identify needs based on traffic patterns
-create a baseline for future analysis, projections and training purposes
The result is a people-counting system that provides performance and conversion data with two to three clicks in near-real time, as data is updated every 15 minutes. The business intelligence reports are transparent to C-level management, local store management staff and sales associates alike.
Scott Roller, CEO of salesfloorLIVE, discussed the business intelligence system and how it can benefit retail management with point of sale information in near real time.
“Our business intelligence system partners with the most appropriate people-counting camera provider for the application, and then analyzes the data to give retail managers a tool to help them better manage their day-to-day operations,” Roller said. “Our solution is camera-agnostic. Like everything else, it’s ‘garbage in, garbage out,’ so we wanted sensors that could provide very accurate counts.”
He stressed that with this system, management doesn’t need to install any software on their point of sale system. “We try to keep things as simple to operate as possible with the analysis done behind the scenes, then presenting the results so all levels of management and associates can understand daily, even hourly, shopping trends, recognize the opportunities and decide what to do with them.”
Thermal sensor cameras track traffic passing beneath the sensors, and back-end business intelligence merges data to create a snapshot of activity at any given time during the day or week. The data can then be compared to the previous day, week, month or year. Reports show who the workers are during what shifts, the number of transactions during that time period and the number of customers entering the store. Reports are updated every 15 minutes, so the information remains fresh and fluid. Immediate action can be taken to correct any problems or issues that arise.
(Image, left – An example of a performance screen showing data collected and analyzed by SalesFloor LIVE, reprinted with permission of SalesFloor LIVE.
Roller noted that this is especially helpful during peak shopping times, like Black Friday and pre- and post-holiday shopping. “When customers come in, you don’t want to miss an opportunity,” he said. “Knowing the demands can help retail managers optimize sales by not only having the right number of management and support personnel but the most productive team. Conversion rates are better, sales associates remain motivated, customers enjoy better service, and everybody wins.”
He added that through the improved business intelligence, Vanity doubled their Customer Value, the average sales made per customer that walks in the door. Additionally, year-over-year results showed that Vanity posted a top-line increase of 2.8 percent and gross profits increased nearly 12 percent, even though there were 15 fewer stores in the second year of implementation.
Marginally profitable stores grew operating profit by over 75 percent, the worst performing stores improved about 27 percent, and the top 50 stores increased their profitability by nearly 14 percent.
(Graph, right – reprinted by permission, salesfloorLIVE.com)
Success in retail management is all about converting shoppers into buyers. With a combination of tracking traffic and analyzing performance data, retail managers can tap into business intelligence to optimize their sales, identify deficiencies, create training opportunities, better manage peak demand times and increase their bottom line.
SalesfloorLIVE.com works with a multitude of traffic counter systems in retail store chains. Their high-performance platform delivers real-time remote visibility to store operations. The ability to measure performance against objectives, increase sales staff productivity while optimizing each stores’ labor schedule to traffic opportunity, and utilize predictive analytics to drive higher growth in customer value, are just a few of the technology benefits. Up-to-date key performance indicator trend comparisons can be mapped across the entire hierarchy of each chain to assist in driving sustainable organic growth through increased operating expertise. To learn more about salesfloorLIVE go to: www.salesfloorLIVE.com or email sales@salesfloorLIVE.com