Understanding your retail “landscape” is a mission that has become clearer in its directive...

...and more attainable than ever through today’s technology. The retail landscape was once blind to in store visibility, ignored highly reactive variables, and simply turned field collected data into reports full of numbers to crunch. Making sense of these numbers and more importantly asking the right questions that lead to pertinent answers turned to a guessing game; mainly based on trial and error.

To start, you can adopt these 5 essential steps for success:

  1. Move your audit “online” from static reporting systems by introducing cloud based data collection in order to collect actionable data: Why wait for reports to trickle in and enter a world of formatting and consistency purgatory before being able to identify key issues in the marketplace when you can adopt real-time insights and reporting technology to automate that process? It’s time to start evaluating the tools that now exist to create the perfect audit with conclusive and actionable data. This holds true for both ends of the process from supplier to retailer. Retail Touch Points expands on this idea in their piece, “Cloud-based Portals Streamline Retailer-Supplier Collaboration” which goes on to explain how “both retailers and suppliers are responsible for the teamwork that delivers satisfaction”.
  2. Empower your employees and leverage your internal network through mobile devices to create a unified workforce: You need to give a little to get a little, and in this market, if you equip your teams and your workforce with the power and willingness to affect change and they will! Your best customer is your most informed employee and they will help create a culture that will let your company and teams evolve. It also helps that they live on computers that fit in their pockets! Put them to good use!
  3. Create a contextualized cross-section to gain visibility into the competitive market: Ask the right questions, collect the right information and take note of what’s happening all around you. Understanding your retail “real estate” and your competitor’s is key to survival. Smart Business goes further into this topic with Matthew P. Dugan, a partner at Fay Sharpe LLP, in focusing on an even deeper level of what he calls competitive intelligence that includes IP & patent activities.
  4. Create a consistent feedback mechanism that forces uniform compliance for analytics: If Tom likes to use excel, Mary likes to write lengthy emails, and Fred likes to send digital photos with a brief description, how can one make sense of the reporting that comes along with that? By utilizing a consistent method and form for feedback you can collect and analyze data in a uniform way. This will highlight key insights, create more useful comparative analysis and push more obvious issues that will feed the formula for success. For instance, just take a look at m-Power blog‘s “Excel Spreadhseets are often a giant waste of money” post, or our previous post on the topic here!
  5. Make impacting decisions based on validated and relevant data that indicate trends, sales:  Once your house is in order,  you are asking the right questions, and you are collecting only the data that matters you are then on the road to making informed decisions “in the moment”. You can take real time analytics to help correct a simple problem, cater to demand and provide the best customer experience that will enable your retail growth.

It’s that simple! It’s time to take a step into the future, stay ahead of both the trends and the problems, and create a fertile and more accessible platform for growth.

Also, please go back and take a look at our blog, “Top 5 Mistakes When Measuring Retail Execution”!

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