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Startups Authors: Harry Trott, Kevin Benedict, Dan Blacharski, Liz McMillan, Rolando Kahn

Related Topics: Innovations Software Technology, Startup Journal, Agile Digital Transformation, Big Data on Ulitzer, Internet of Things Journal

Agile Digital Transformation: Article

Three Steps For Retail SMBs To Improve Sales, Foot Traffic, And Online Marketing

How Retail SMBs Can Integrate Online And Offline Analytics Tools

Small and medium-sized (SMB) retailers, although reasonably smaller than their enterprise counterparts, demands such an incredible amount of time and energy, you feel like you're operating a big-box store. As a SMB retail store owner, it's safe to say your job can get pretty hectic - from crunching the sales numbers to managing employee schedules along with maintaining social media and online advertising activities - it often feels like there aren't enough hours in the day! You're constantly on the lookout for anything that can simplify tasks, save money and ultimately, allow you to focus on retail strategy instead of just trying to keep up with the day-to-day.

Technology now allows business owners and managers to easily benchmark and measure ongoing store activities and make quick decisions from that data to make immediate changes to your business. Whether it be POS (point of sale) transactions, online marketing campaigns, or in-store analytics, retailers are in a fantastic position to compare and contrast these metrics and improve their in-store strategy.

Here are the steps to connecting your retail data:

Step 1: Review POS Activity

Examining your POS data is a great first step to understanding your store's performance. Use daily revenue numbers to determine which days of the week generate the greatest revenue, or in contrast, which days your store is suffering. While revenue is important, the critical number to look at is your margins on these product sales to see how much profit you're making on top of your costs. Understanding revenue and margin results during specific days or weeks allows you to identify the times when your store generates the highest profit. Knowing "when" and "how much" is only valuable if you can measure what it was that actually drove this business to your store so you can repeat those actions for continuous growth.

Step 2: Capture In-Store Foot Traffic

For retailers using an in-store analytics platform such as the SoleSensor, a people counting floor sensor, frequent monitoring of daily, seasonal and annual foot traffic is paramount to understanding and predicting store performance. If you're making an average of $10,000 in sales every day with 100 customer purchases, but have 200 shoppers in-store, you're only converting 50% of visitors into customers. With an average transaction size of $100, that's a potential of another $10,000 in revenue you could be generating if the other 100 shoppers chose to purchase! SMB retailers need to measure their conversion rates to discover how to better promote their offering in-store and increase the satisfaction of customers on their visit. An average of 84% of customers buy on impulse, so retailers need to make sure they're getting the right products and message out to their customers on the path-to-purchase.

SMB retail analytics will also optimize your staff scheduling by determining traffic levels on each hour and day of the week so you can accurately predict how many people should be on staff. By reviewing traffic in conjunction with sales data, you'll discover the most effective ratios of retail associates to customers so that every shopper is provided with the service they need to make their purchase. Optimizing staff schedules creates a better in-store experience for customers, and a happier work environment for your staff who are no longer bored or overwhelmed with scheduling misalignments. This can have a dramatic impact on your labor costs as well, where SMB retailers have seen a reduction of 20% in wages!

Step 3: Optimize Online Marketing Campaigns

Take advantage of online analytics to see the impact of your digital marketing efforts, and what their effect is on in-store traffic and sales. Measuring the percent of your customers interacting with your email campaigns, daily traffic to your website and across geographic regions, social media engagement, and even paid advertising campaigns to realize ROI on both time and monetary investments in marketing. From here, you'll be able to break down which methods, marketing messages, and targeted keywords resonate most with your customer base by comparing the impact it has on both foot traffic and in-store revenue. While some campaigns may have high online engagement, you may find that they're not actually sending people into your locations.

SMB's face many challenges, some tougher than others, but with today's technologies readily available, retailers are making more informed and strategic decisions on their in-store strategy. Retail owners should take advantage of the multiple platforms at their fingertips to make life easier while taking significant steps to improve their bottom line. Check out how this retailer effectively combined their online marketing with our offline floor sensor data here.

About Scanalytics

Scanalytics is among the top 10 fastest growing "Internet of Things" companies, measuring human behavior insights through intelligent floor sensors. The SoleSensor platform translates consumer foot traffic into actionable data through a dashboard interface for real-time and historical viewing of trends in physical spaces. Using the floor sensor technology, brands capture and analyze occupancy, traffic patterns and engagement times to increase conversions and improve ROI.

With over 40 million impressions to date, Scanalytics has deployed SoleSensors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia. Learn more at: www.scanalyticsinc.com.

More Stories By Rolando Kahn

Rolando Kahn is a writer at Scanalytics Inc. with a passion for technology and all things marketing. Blogging, social media, and technical writing are all components of the bigger puzzle he's spearheading at a leading "Internet of Things" business. He is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies.