August 5, 2020

How To Make A Multi-Location Business Better With Retail Analytics

By: Barrett Johnson and Jason Herron

For multi-location retail businesses, leveraging data and retail analytics is the key to making smarter decisions. Multi-location operations are inundated with data from inventory levels, supply chain movement, consumer demand, sales, and more. This information flows into the business from a variety of separate and unconnected sources, such as a point-of-sale system, customer relationship management tool, or financial software. Business intelligence centralizes all that information in a way that can easily be understood, and a strong data culture is what enables a business to leverage those retail analytics to improve.

For example, let’s say a business has multiple stores in the same city in different neighborhoods, and one of the locations regularly outperforms the others. As a leader of this operation, you want to know what drives this shop’s success and how to use those findings to help the other locations. Different locations will have several variables that will affect sales, including, but not limited to leadership, employees, demographics, inventory strategy, sales campaigns. Without a data strategy to measure and evaluate this data, you could be missing key areas that determine the success and failures of the location. For example, the most profitable location may also be employing a different inventory strategy to reduce loss. Once this inventory strategy has been identified as a critical metric for success, it can be applied to the other locations.

What is data culture, and how can it help us understand retail analytics?

Data culture empowers every team member to access and analyze relevant business intelligence information to make smarter decisions. Many leaders, managers, and individual contributors use their instincts to make decisions. While instincts might have short-term success, they are not reproducible, teachable, or sustainable and do not lead to long-term success. If the leader, manager, and contributors have access to the right information, they can start asking and answering questions that will move their ideas from theories into actionable insights. Providing measurable analytics can provide a template for repeatable success. 

15+ questions that business intelligence and data culture can help multi-location retailers answer

There really is no end to the variety of questions that a well-honed data culture can answer using a holistic view of retail analytics provided by business intelligence. Some of the questions we’ve seen our customers answer include:

Inventory questions

  • How much product should we carry to meet demand and minimize carrying costs?
  • How can we reduce loss and waste by understanding the life-span of our product more effectively? In one instance, we worked with a multi-location grocer to streamline their retail analytics to understand the level of waste they needed to address.
  • What seasonal items should we stock to meet demand and improve profitability?

Vendor questions

  • How do vendors compare to each other based on a scorecard?
  • What current offers are good buys based on historic pricing or market trends?

Operational questions

  • Why is one location performing better than all others in the region?
  • What is the optimal staffing schedule to deliver exceptional service and control costs?
  • Which employees are exceeding their goals and ready to be promoted?
  • How can we more quickly and effectively respond to outages or other performance issues?

Marketing questions

  • What are the most bought items from customers, and how are they buying them? How are online sales different from in-person sales?
  • What items sell well with other items (e.g., shopping cart analysis)?
  • When does our website receive the most traffic from people who are purchasing versus those who are browsing?

Financial questions

  • Are we processing our rebates correctly to maximize our benefits from vendors?
  • How do our best-performing salespeople deliver the results they do?
  • How can we use our data to detect fraud?
  • How can we accurately forecast? When will we run out of operating revenue? 

Turning data and curiosity into action

Using retail analytics effectively is about technology, tools, and reports. However, the best-performing multi-retail location operations rely on a strong data culture to ask questions that get the right answers. As a result, they experience better sales, better operations, and happier employees.

Do you want to leverage business intelligence and retail analysis at your multi-location operation to get better results? At Salos Services, we help you unleash your data’s potential with business intelligence solutions that provide the insights you need to make the right decisions.

To get the support you need to make business intelligence work for you, set up a free consultation today.
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