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Devil is in the data

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Deva Jyotula
Deva Jyotula
Deva Jyotula is vice president of retail at Kalpataru Ltd. that runs Korum mall in Thane, Mumbai.

Data-driven retail management can empower brands to optimize operations, drive sales, and cater to evolving customer demands

In today’s dynamic retail landscape, data-driven insights play a pivotal role in shaping successful business strategies and enhancing customer experiences. The advent of advanced technologies has revolutionized the way retailers operate, enabling them to harness the power of information through data analysis and delve deeper into consumer behavior. Here we discuss the key data points that retailers should monitor and use for improving relevance, optimizing operations and driving sales.

Footfall
This indicator is analyzed on a variety of parameters resulting in a wealth of insights which can be used to bring about improvement in several areas. The layout can be optimized keeping focus on customer convenience basis different entry points. Identifying busy
and non-busy areas can help in working out Space on Hire (SOH) revenues as well as efficient space management. Insights about busy and non-busy periods during the day help with staffing and resource allocation strategies. Additionally, cameras at customer entry points these days can provide insights into customer demographics, such as gender and age, enabling more personalized marketing efforts.

Footfall data also helps in managing security systems like emergency evacuation planning as well as installation of security cameras and smoke detectors in shopping centers. With the correct information, dead spaces can be utilized for customer safety initiatives as well as deploy optimal resources like camera count, security personnel and smoke detectors in heavy customer areas.

Korum mall Thane
Picture courtesy: Korum mall

Mode of transport
Another important data point that we explore is the mode of transport used by customers. A dip into the data will reveal valuable information including preferences, requirement for dedicated spaces like public transport drop-off and pick-up zones, absolute counts of each mode, customer’s socio-economic class and demographics through number plate analysis. By understanding weekday/weekend preferences and time patterns, marketing activities can be planned strategically and capitalize on targeted opportunities.

Point of Sale
Point of Sale (POS) data, when analyzed, provides insights into sales trends, loyalty contributions, acceptance and effectiveness of marketing campaign and preferred payment methods. It aids in merchandise planning. By leveraging this data, tailored offers can be designed, sales campaigns can be enhanced and informed decisions can be made to boost customer satisfaction.

Events
Businesses run customer engagement events to attract customers. Data from the event registrations enables gauging customer engagement levels, establishing whether customers liked the event as well as understanding if the efforts finally resulted in customer delight. A deep dive into this information further facilitates media planning by understanding how the customer came to know regarding the event and thereby helps optimize advertising spends
for future events.

Feedback
It is important to know what the customer has to say to the business and hence collection of customer feedback is an important tool to not only gauge the existing gaps and improvement areas but also what customers really like and appreciate regarding the business. It helps in refining operations and understanding the customer better. Additionally, it helps in measuring the Customer Satisfaction Index, a crucial metric for understanding brand loyalty and overall performance.

Parking
Efficient parking management is essential for optimizing space and ensuring customer convenience. In recent developments, modern tools have been developed to indicate parking occupancy through coloured lights and live digital counters. When parking data is dissected in detail, it gives the leverage to optimize space allocation and deployment of parking staff resources. Customer experience improves when they can easily see available parking space and at times leads to customer delight.

Building management system
Building Management System (BMS) provides critical information and controls for cost optimization. These systems include functions like automated lighting and air-conditioning resulting not only in significant cost savings and energy optimization but also in better customer experience. These systems increase or reduce electrical load in lighting and cooling, based on footfall in the specific area. Digital metering has also helped in controlling electricity usage by providing real-time updates on electricity consumption enabling
informed decision making for sustainability.

Data points such as water management and waste management utilizing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (RRR) practices help reduce wastages and help save the environment. With the right understanding of variations in electricity load requirements, alternate energy sources can be planned and thereby add to environment friendly initiatives.

Other
Retailers provide several free services to customers. It is important to track the rate of usage of such services to retain only those required and at the required time intervals. Post Covid, many retailers have switched to automated entry that allows temperature
checks. These systems, when deployed internally, can help filter authorized access, keep a check on body temperature as well as mark attendance. When these systems are deployed for customers, they help gain valuable information about customers like entry and exit time, repeat visits and demographics which can help optimize operations and enhance customer experiences.

Finally
Data-driven retail management has become imperative for brands seeking to thrive in a competitive market. By leveraging data analytics from varied sources across a plethora of dimensions, retailers can make informed decisions, deliver personalized experiences, optimize operations and drive customer loyalty. With the power of data-driven insights, retailers can stay ahead of evolving customer demands and shape the future of retail in a
dynamic and ever-changing landscape.

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