This is the sentiment of a recent study by Gartner found that business that enable their sales representatives to leverage data on a day-to-day basis stood to increase revenue productivity by 17%. That could be a considerable increase for many retailers, although there still seems to be issues with collecting and providing the relevant information to the staff in real time.
Tracking, analysing and publishing transactional data with its considerable variety and velocity can prove cumbersome. Many businesses will embark on a complex merchandising and allocations program with the goal to predict and ensure the appropriate stock is in store, although much of the intelligence on the actual floor is either not translated back to head office or exposed to staff fast enough to increase productivity where it matter most.
Utilising a BI (Business Intelligence) platform can provide managers with simple feedback of sales and staff behaviours through to comprehensive dashboards with key performance indicators. Analytics turns data into information and information into knowledge and by empowering managers to make informed decisions the reaction time to proactive decision making can only decrease. Likewise increasing the visibility of staff sales enhances their desire to increase their output. With real time analytics results of top-performing locations and sales associates can be collected, aggregated and posted into a meaningful format, so the entire organization can identify and recognize them.
Trends can be translated back to staff so as they can see the top selling items, product groups and categories all providing assistance to the floor staff during their sales engagements. Wouldn’t it be a refreshing change to have a sales assistant say “Did you know that style and colour has been hot this week and we only have a few left”
As the economy has been sluggish for many mid-sized retailers it’s become a cautious waiting game especially when investing in information technology (IT) systems. They need to consider the fact that doing nothing or reducing investments can also be risky, especially if competitors are better prepared when the retail sector begins to recover.
There’s a saying “knowledge is power” and in today’s fast paced environment it should probably be upgraded to “Real time knowledge is more powerful”