Festive Retail and the Measures of Success
The busiest shopping season of the year isn't just a boon for revenue, it is also a season for a systems and technology review. We know that sounds much less exciting than a healthy bottom line – but hear us out.
As shoppers flood your stores and scroll your website making purchases along the way, stock is being shuttled around – whether it is shipping from warehouse to store or being carried by assistants from back room to store floor or omnichannel fulfilment areas – all to keep up with shopper demand and complex omnichannel logistics. Speaking of assistants, they should be busy engaging customers, performing value-adding sales work and replenishing shelves. Meanwhile, other assistants are hard at work fulfilling omnichannel orders in the store and in the car park.
So once the season ends and the tinsel comes down, you will want to know: How well did it reallywork?
The only way to know for sure whether all your Christmas preparation and investments in technology really delivered ROI is first to know your measures of success – and then to actually measure them. Let's look at how you can get a firm grasp on your stores' success and plan more effectively for the next festive season.
Beyond the bottom line: What determines a successful season?
The bottom line is certainly a clear indicator of success, but if that's all you're relying on to tell you whether or not your staffing allocation was fit for purpose or if your stock management met demand, you're not going to find out much. Limited data sets only give you a certain perspective, not the full view of your season's performance. It may not tell you how well each store served customers, whether or not your labour spending was smart or wasteful, or how many customers left unsatisfied due to out-of-stocks.
If you did know the answers to each of those questions, you would be able to prepare more effectively for the next season or promotional campaign, fix critical issues that occurred in various stores and maybe even reward certain stores and employees for jobs well done.
So how do we actually measure these mission-critical metrics? That is the million-dollar question, and the answer is deceptively simple: relevant insights from data. But where that data comes from, how you collect it and the business insights gained can ultimately make or break any attempt at measurement and refinement.
The bottom line is certainly a clear indicator of success, but if that is all you are relying on, you're not going to find out much.
How do you measure success?
Before you start to gather data, it pays to identify what you intend to measure. In terms of measuring retail success during the festive period – and every day – the key metrics, aside from revenue, fall into four categories:
- Inventory accuracy: Is everything in your stock management system, including your e-commerce platforms, really available?
- On-floor availability and out-of-stocks: What is on your shelves, what needs replenishment and what is sold out?
- Labour optimisation: Are you spending the right amount on labour based on traffic and sales?
- Omnichannel fulfilment rates: What percentage of your omnichannel orders were you able to fulfil 100%?
Each of these paint a powerful picture of your stores' success or opportunities for improvement, and each can be determined by collecting a specific type of data. That is where advanced retail technologies comes in.
Through the use of tried-and-tested technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) to the application of cutting-edge IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Computer Vision technologies – retail can tap into the power of big data for even bigger gains. And when you use a cloud-based platform that integrates each of these, not only do you have measurable data at your finger tips, but also the actionable insights and predictive analytics to help you make sense of it.
You may, for example, learn that your stores had strong inventory accuracy this festive season, but omnichannel fulfilment rates were less than optimal. So what’s the problem? It could be that your staffing plan did not align to Click & Collect service level needs. You might also find out that you fully staffed multiple shifts that saw relatively little foot traffic, meaning you overspent on labour and cut into your bottom line.
Each of these insights can help you refine your stores, your processes and your assistants' training. And each of those aspects can contribute to better performance during next year's festive season – and throughout the year.
In short, when you use advanced retail data to look beyond the bottom line, you can usually find ways to increase it. And that's something every retailer can get behind.
When you use advanced retail data to look beyond the bottom line, you can usually find ways to increase it.
Make this season a success – in every measure
We hope you have a successful festive season, profitable in terms of both cash and data. To find out more about which metrics are most important to measure this festive season – so that you can be ever-ready for the next – download our white paper: The Top Must-Measure Store Metrics for Retail Success. Get your copy today. And don't forget to visit our 2022 holiday hub for more helpful insights and guidance on how to make this festive season very merry indeed.