Your POS software has the ability to be so much more than a sales and inventory management tool.
Leveraging the data contained inside means you can plan merchandise promotions based on what your customers actually want, rather than on your best guesses. It doesn’t take much extra effort to pull out the best data, identify patterns, and start narrowing your target audience and exactly how to draw them into a purchase.
While manufacturers, brands, and suppliers may claim to know what golfers are buying in 2018, what matters are the trends in your own shop and what your customers want. Once you start collecting sales data and running reports, the trends will start to become very clear.
Data Within the Point of Sale: What is there?Do you know who your customers are? Your POS can tell you everything you need to know about who is currently purchasing your merchandise and even some of their purchasing habits.
- What do they like?
- How can you reach them?
Information such as customer name, address, phone number, and email address tells you who they are and also a few options for communication. Using custom fields and flags, you can collect birth dates, favorite brands, as well as shoe and apparel sizing information. This data is the key to knowing which promotions are going to hit home.
Identifying Promotional Opportunities
Your data is only worthwhile if you act on it, and frankly, capitalizing on your data is sometimes easier said than done. But, the extra effort definitely pays off. Almost one-third of consumers surveyed by Infosys said that they wish their shopping experience was more personalized than it is. This signals an enormous opportunity for retailers to offer their customers the experience they want while also boosting profits.
One easy way to try out a promotion based on customer data is offering a birthday discount or offer. Birthdays can be collected from customers online or during a registration process or it may be data you already have. Then, during their birthday month or week, send a personalized email, postcard, or card with a birthday greeting and a discount. These promotions are simple to set up using your POS and email marketing software or direct mailing services and will essentially run on their own.
Use your POS data to identify trends in your inventory and then craft your promotions based on that information as well as the outcome or result you want. For example, if you want to move some inventory that hasn’t performed well or is new to the store, bundle it with a similar or complementary item at a discount or as part of a promotional package. Or, find items that customers purchase on impulse and test their placement in your store to boost sales.
Your financial data protects you from a faulty memory of your sales performance. If you match your trends to your customer data, you can segment your customers into useful groups and match promotions to them. Then, when you’re ready to drive new customers, you can see what items they purchase and at which times of year they buy. Apply that technique to your loyal customers or those who haven’t visited recently, and you’ve rounded out your strategy to reach multiple markets and you’ll be prepared to adapt as your data changes.
Planning and Analyzing Your Promotions
Before you begin any promotion, you need to understand what your POS data says about your customers and your inventory as well as define your goal. Simply creating a series of promotions and discounts based without data could leave you in the red and without evidence of your campaign’s effectiveness. Knowing who you’re targeting and what you want them to do makes creating a promotion much simpler and the analysis afterward infinitely more valuable.
After you’ve identified your customers and segmented them based on their demographics, buying behaviors, and other data provided by your POS, you should understand how best to communicate with them. Meet your customers where they are and where they expect you to be by creating messages on several different channels: email, direct mail, text messages, social media, and in-store. Make your messages consistent, but be sure to personalize your content based on your delivery message. For instance, text messages shouldbe short and point to your website, but in-store promotions can be visual and communicate urgency.
Once you’ve planned and launched a promotion, track your results immediately. Don’t forget to keep your analytical eye onyour goals and look for the metrics that either show a positive or negative impact. Some examples include:
- Sales Volume
- Customer Satisfaction
- In-Store Traffic
- Website Traffic
- Email Subscriptions
- Social Media Engagement
Sometimes your promotions won’t meet your goals. After you’ve completed a campaign, look at which customers engaged and see how it was different from what you expected. If your campaign didn’t hit the mark because of a misunderstanding of your audience or a disconnect in your delivery, make changes based on your data.
The same strategy applies to successful campaigns—which we hope happens more often than not! As you recreate effective campaigns, look for ways to streamline and capture even more customers.
Using data to plan, execute, and measure your promotions means you can spend less time guessing and more time strategizing and capitalizing good campaigns. With your POS data on your customers and inventory, you’ll have everything you need to create a personalized shopping experience that will delight your customers and draw in new prospects.
While data wrangling and analysis takes work and extra planning, it’s the key to staying ahead in your sales and offering your customers what they want and expect. Depending on your goals and the types of promotions you run, you should start seeing results within a few months and as your process becomes more refined, you’ll be able to run more targeted and sophisticated campaigns and build some significant momentum behind your sales.
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