Getting Better Data for Making Better Decisions
It’s no secret that the more we know about our customers and business, the more we can create an ideal buying experience - regardless of the location and channel of selling. With increasing popularity of big box stores and giant online retailers, this is becoming increasingly essential in order to stay competitive. To get this deep level of knowledge, we need a consistent and accurate flow of data from our customers and into the hands of the right decision makers within our businesses; and an ERP can be a great way to accomplish this.
In this post, we’re taking a look at how an ERP can help retailers to get the right data and turn it into actionable ideas that drive results. To do so, we’re considering exactly what data to collect, where to get it from, when to get it, and finally, what exactly to do with it.
What Data to Get
Operational considerations aside, what we know about our customers is arguably one of the most important data sets that we can collect. However, requesting detailed information is generally frowned upon (and can also be illegal in some situations), so it is important to be creative with how we source this data. Loyalty programs can be a great way to get key demographic information, while eliminating liability, about our customers. An ERP can then take this information and use it to help make better decisions about which products to keep in stock and the locations our customers prefer to buy them from. Of course, the general sales information that your ERP collects in terms of volume, pricing, and other essential stats are useful, but perhaps more in terms of your supply chain than in terms of creating the best buying experience possible.
Where to Get The Data From?
In store, website and ecommerce locations, and of course, on social media. Your ERP can be particularly useful here as it will automatically record this information for your ongoing sales. Social monitoring can provide a wealth of information about your audience for you to better understand the pain points and motivators and to create highly effective marketing and sales strategies that are aligned with exactly what your customers want.
When Should I Collect It?
Data collection shouldn’t only happen at the point of sale - but instead throughout the entire buying process - especially after sales. As mentioned, maintaining social monitoring consistently and on an ongoing basis means that you can always be up-to-date on latest trends in your audience and the industry as a whole.
So now your ERP has given you a small amount of information and your BI solution has turned it into actionable reports that can be utilized by key stakeholders within your business. You can use this data to do all of the following (and more):
- Merchandising and product selection - improving existing products and selecting new ones
- Sales and promotions
- Bespoke marketing efforts via SMS, email or other methodologies
- Creating the most pleasurable and consistent buying experience across all your channels
- Improving your customer service
- Fraud and risk reduction
From all of this, it’s clear that the old adage is true “knowledge is power” - and an ERP can be the absolute best way to get and keep all of this data. However, retailers must be careful to choose a solution that is designed with their industry in mind and an implementation partner that possesses years of experience not only in ERP implementation but also in the specifics of the retail industry.
The amount of data you can get can almost feel overwhelming, but once your business has adjusted to this level of information, the results and improvements will create a positive feedback loop that only stands to improve with more time and data. If you’re interested learning more about ERP solutions and finding out if they could be the right answer for your retail business, make sure to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your complimentary consultation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.