Understanding Key Performance Indicators

As a retailer in a competitive marketplace, a major focus should be monitoring the health of your business. For most retailers this means getting a handle on your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.

Defining KPIs

A KPI is a metric that is designed to give you a quick snapshot of some aspect of your business. A KPI might be a measure of sales, customer activity, or financial strength.

More than simply a bottom line number, a KPI is usually expressed as a comparison with some other factor. For example, looking at the average sale per customer gives you an understanding of the potential value of each customer.

Which KPIs should I track?

There are hundreds of KPIs that a retail business owner could be using at any one time. If an activity can be tracked and measured in your store, a KPI can be developed to provide you with business intelligence. One of the challenges is to decide on a handful of KPIs that provide you with the most valuable information based on the goals and objectives of your operation.

Every retailer will have a different set of KPIs. For example, a business that uses commissioned sales associates to sell to customers may place a heavy emphasis on KPIs that track the effectiveness of an individual sales associate while these KPIs may be irrelevant for another retail business.

You may want to track KPIs related to your customers. Simply knowing the number of customers who enter the store each day may not be enough for you. You may want to gain a deeper understanding about your customer’s shopping patterns and what converts them from a casual shopper into a dedicated, returning customer. To do this, you need to carefully consider what data you should collect and analyze.

Choosing the right data

Data, by itself, is not a KPI until it’s arranged in a meaningful way. A list of sales transactions throughout the day is good data to have but it’s not the whole picture. The next step might be to calculate the total dollar amount of sales for the day. You can arrange the data in any number of ways:  sales by department, sales by item, or sales by cashier. At this point, you still only have data to analyze.

The strength of KPIs is knowing how to use data to gain a competitive advantage. It all comes down to the goals and objectives you set for your business.

For each goal you establish, you must also create the metric that will determine if you are successful in reaching that goal. Your KPIs become the method by which you track your progress.  If your key performance indicators do not reflect progress toward your goal, you must change the tactics you are using in your business.

Using raw data to optimize your retail operations

Retailers assess KPI performance indicators to determine how to optimize their business.

Let’s look at one simple example of how your goals and KPIs come together to give you a competitive advantage.

Marlene runs a small clothing store in a mid-size urban market. Lately things have been going good but the business has leveled off. She would like to increase her business over the next year.  She creates a goal to increase her sales by 10%.

Marlene realizes that an obvious KPI is her total sales. She can also break down her sales on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to compare with the previous year. This gives her the maximum degree of flexibility especially since her sales tend to fluctuate according to well-defined fashion seasons.

Marlene decides that a good strategy would be to do more advertising on radio and television during the coming year. To find out if the advertising is bring customers into the store, she decides to track footfall, the number of people coming into the store. Fortunately, she tracked her traffic last year but if she didn’t, she could use the new data by correlating store traffic with the dates and times that advertising is running to see if the ads have an immediate effect.

If she notices that store traffic increases for a few days after a television ad appears, she may make more strategic choices about when to run television ads. Or she may be sure to have a special sale during the weekend following a big flood of advertising.

By tracking average customer spend, Marlene can determine how much the average customer spends during each purchase transaction. In order to increase sales, she decides to place some displays with accessories – scarves and jewelry – close to the cash registers. The strategy works and she notices that her average customer spend amount increases due to impulse purchases while customers are waiting in line.

Although her total sales KPI indicates some overall growth, Marlene is not satisfied with the progress she is making. She begins to track her conversion rate, the number of transactions throughout the day divided by the number of people who enter the store. This seems to indicate that a lot of people are coming into the store but not many are making purchases.

Retail conversion rate

To combat this, she could implement a number of new strategies. Perhaps she should take a look at rotating her inventory more frequently so the styles are kept fresh. She might decide that she needs to add new merchandise. Eventually, Marlene decides to hire additional staff to take more time with the customers and help them pick out merchandise.

To maximize the effectiveness of her new employees, she tracks shopper to staff ratio.  This KPI lets Marlene determine if she has the appropriate number of employees on the sales floor to handle the volume of shoppers. Monitoring her wage costs, which is wages paid divided by the total sales will also help her monitor her costs.

As her business grows, Marlene may decide to implement different strategies or develop completely new goals for her business. These goals and strategies may necessitate new KPIs to help her determine if they are effective. As her needs change, so will her data collection requirements and so will the way she analyses that data.

Tracking KPIs in Retail Pro

Retailers using Retail Pro have several built-in tools to help them track important KPIs easily and automatically including 160+ pre-designed reports that can be accessed using the Retail Report Viewer tool.

Filters allow you to easily report on different aspects of your operation and break down your data into different segments to allow you to take a bird’s-eye view or get down into the weeds.

Retail Pro reports can also be completely customized using an ODBC-compliant report writer like Crystal Reports. This allows you to save time and money by adapting an existing report to show exactly the information you need without a lot of work and effort.

From inside Retail Pro, you can use customer or inventory statistics to gain more perspective.

X-Out and graphical reports allows you to look at sales activity throughout the day and get instant analysis.

Happy tracking!

Want to learn more?

See how Retail Pro can help you improve visibility into your data using KPIs.

Contact us today

New year, new retail! 5 ways to use mobile in your stores

Mobility_1

 

Each new year comes with new excitement, new potential, new initiatives – like mobile in your stores!

Start 2017 off right – see how one fashion retailer uses mobile in their stores. Then, book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you go mobile!

Book my NRF meeting now

 

How to Build Your Tech Strategy

Tech Strategy_2

 

Technology empowers efficiency in your retail operations, so building a solid tech strategy is critical to effective execution.

See how Earthbound Trading Co is increasing operational efficiency by building their tech strategy with Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail tech strategy.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

 

How to Unify Commerce

Unify Commerce_Blog

 

Last week we invited you to meet with us at NRF to discover optimized retail with Retail Pro.

Let’s count down the final weeks before NRF with tips on HOW to optimize your retail operations, in step with market trends and proven strategies of retailers using Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize and unify your commerce profitably.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

7 Retail Resolutions for 2017

iphone_notes

 

As 2017 quickly approaches, here are 7 New Year’s resolutions for retailers to consider.

 

1

I will think of and connect all our digital and physical channels as one whole so we can unify commerce.

2

I will use our retail data to plan inventory better so customers always get what they want and I always sell down to zero.

3

I will reach higher to grow my business, whether that’s expanding my merchandise, my team, my tech, or my operations – globally.

4

I will use my retail management tech to its full capacity to automate more and operate more efficiently.

5

I will leverage mobile POS to liberate my sales staff from bondage to the cash register, and empower them to better engage our customers and sell more with hyper-relevant data insights.

6

I will attend to my most important customers better and create a smooth and consistent experience however they choose to shop with our brand.

7

I will optimize retail.

 

 

Keep your 2017 resolutions with Retail Pro

 

Optimize-35

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Tips for Using Your Retail Data to Attract More Customers

Two women shopping

 

For retailers, much of the work that goes into making a sale is done before your customer ever sets foot in your store. Here are 3 tips for using your retail data to attract more customers.

 

1. Use outbound marketing as a targeted follow-up to inbound marketing.

Fresh, high-quality content is available to sales prospects 24/7. Whether it’s on the web, in stores, or via email, information is out there, waiting to be consumed by eager customers. Savvy retailers are using their content assets to attract customers, and it’s working: Interesting, relevant material attracts leads to a business’ site, social media presence and/or store. That content must position your company as a market leader. Valuable content that informs the customer is key. The more specific your content, the more focused you can be.

2. Collect data on your customer.

To really provide such highly focused, relevant content, you must understand customers’ interests and tastes, as well as their demographic information. Only then can you tailor both your content, which attracts customers, and the message, which will be used to close the sale. Outbound marketing only succeeds when it reaches the appropriate audience. Personalized campaigns can go a long way when you are courting a customer. Let the data you gather help inform the way you engage with customers.

3. Use predictive analytics.

Look back and use past performance to gauge future sales. Predictive analytics examines a variety of data and then systematically offers the makeup of the best leads. Big data crunching can help find those sweet spots invisible to the naked eye. In addition, sales teams knowledgeable in the science of data analytics can gain insight into purchasing triggers. Paying attention to small triggers can get your retail marketing campaigns out ahead of the competition’s.

 

 

 

3 Tips to Improve Your Loyalty Program

 

What every woman wishes retailers knew

If your loyalty program is lacking luster, it’s likely time for an overhaul or at least a close inspection.

So, you have a loyalty program, but:

  • It’s not attracting new members
  • Its members are not as active as you’d like
  • No one knows about it

Your program is dying on the vine, and it’s top management’s fault. If it’s not top of mind for managers, it won’t be for anyone else, certainly not customers.

Successful loyalty programs are big. Sure, they have plenty of members, but they are vibrant and enticing to customers. Here are three ways to improve your program:

Devote Time To It

Cultivating customer loyalty is a strategy. Retaining existing customers is less expensive than finding new ones, so it’s worth investing the time and effort into making them feel special.

Define specific goals for the program: Do you want to increase memberships? Boost members’ sales? Only then can you forge a roadmap to make those goals a reality.

Improve Your Customer Service

No one wants to be loyal to a place that doesn’t treat them well.

If your customer service isn’t top notch, ask yourself, “Why would anyone return?” Terrific service lays the groundwork for customer loyalty.

73% of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand, according to RightNow.

Furthermore, providing a superior experience not only helps to retain that customer but also to grow your base, because consumers with positive experiences tend to recommend the brand to others.

Go Big

Let’s face it: The value proposition must be extremely compelling.

Many of your competitors have loyalty programs. And if they don’t, they might just be offering something you can’t: Lower pricing, free shipping, certain brands, etc.

Grab Stats notes that the average U.S. household belongs to more than 18 programs, but is active in only 8.4. Therefore, your loyalty program must stand out and offer something irresistible.

Sephora members, for example, earn points with each purchase that they can redeem for rewards. The program is tiered depending on the dollar value of customers’ annual purchases. Spending more is an incentive to get free products as well as entry into exclusive events.

What differentiates a great loyalty program from others is that customers are eager – excited, even – to join a program that meets their needs.

The day someone asks an associate to join your program without being coaxed is the day you know you’ve hit on a winning formula.

But customers’ tastes change. So enjoy the winning formula while you can – and keep innovating.

 

 

 

Customers Welcome Flexible Shopping Options

Ecommerce alone may not perform as well as omnichannel offerings.

Ecommerce alone may not perform as well as omnichannel offerings.

It’s a fact of retail life: Out of stocks can cost retailers not only one sale, but also future sales. Once the customer is disappointed, he or she may never walk through that business’ doors again. The sale is gone, along with any store loyalty. That’s why it’s critical for retailers to implement omnichannel strategies that let customers shop for and take delivery of products in the ways that fit their lifestyles.

According to a new report from AGC Partners, “The Retail Industry Disruptors: Specialty Online Retailers and Marketplaces Take Center Stage,” most shoppers welcome technology that lets them take advantage of retailers’ omnichannel strategies.

A solid omnichannel strategy lets shoppers buy online, buy in-store or do a combination: buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS), for example. Increasingly, customers are “taking control” of their shopping experiences. They are well researched, both in terms of what products they want to buy, and where they want to purchase. They are “smart shoppers,” who more than ever before are able to dictate how they want to purchase merchandise.

The report notes that now, shoppers are looking for what seems to be the inverse of BOPIS: They want in-store mobile technology that allows them to order a product from a retailer’s e-commerce site, if it is not in stock at the store. 64% of consumers responded that they are more likely to frequent stores that offer such technology, and 73% said that such an offering provides a “superior” customer experience.

Retail is an enormous, $22 trillion market worldwide. Right now, online retail only makes up 7.4% of that total. Retailers that can “rescue” an order that cannot be filled at a physical location by routing it to its e-commerce site, will increase revenue and build customer appreciation. In addition, online sales will grow. A sale is a sale, no matter where it originates or to where it is delivered. As long as a retailer provides the channel, customers have no reason to seek the item elsewhere.

Still, a number of hurdles need to be overcome, according to AGC:

  • Only 33% of all U.S. retailers can order out-of-stock products via a mobile device
  • Only 26% offer free Wi-Fi
  • Only 12% can have customers scan products and have them shipped home

That represents an enormous opportunity for retailers and their technology partners. Increased shopping on mobile devices is likely to drive overall growth in online retail. And many shoppers, particularly millennials, enjoy using smartphones and other mobile devices to shop: Of 2,000 millennials surveyed by Coupofy, 28% reported preferring to shop on their smartphone than on their computers. Therefore, by implementing solutions that allow customers to be flexible in how they shop, where they take delivery – and even make returns – retailers can grow revenue as well as customer satisfaction.

 

Going omnichannel?

You know it’s critical to create a consistent customer experience across all sales channels – but you can’t afford for your omnichannel efforts to be seen as omni-failures. 

Get this whitepaper to discover how to simplify omnichannel!

Get whitepaper