If you own and manage a retail business, you may find that national and local economic cycles feel like a rollercoaster, complete with literal stomach-churning drops As a result, you may constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve your marketing efforts and drive more business to your store, as well as ways to cut costs and reduce the amount of time you seem to spend doing paperwork.
In many cases, the answer to both questions lies in the cloud -- from a place to store confidential documents off-site or allow managers to re-order inventory remotely, to a way for you to tap into your customers' (and potential customers') desires and needs. Read on to learn more about how you can analyze your business's trends and improve the effectiveness of your future marketing efforts while simultaneously moving your sensitive documents over to the cloud.
What analytics measurements are most helpful to retail businesses?
When it comes to retail, there are a few key measures you'll want to be able to refer to whenever you're developing a new marketing strategy or tweaking a current one. These include:
- Your average amount of foot traffic per day, broken down by each day of the week
- The amount of time the average customer spends in your store
- The dollar amount spent by the average customer
- The number of repeat customers you have compared to the number of first-time visitors
Knowing this information, even on a fairly general basis, can give you some data with which to begin making changes. For example, if you find that you have only half as many customers on Monday as you do on other weekdays, plus double the volume on Saturday and Sunday, it may be worthwhile to close each Monday and extend your weekend hours to ensure you can get as many customers in the door as possible.
How can you employ these analytics measures while transitioning to cloud computing or storage?
Moving a business's papers to the cloud is never an instantaneous process, and you'll likely want to work with your cloud storage provider (or analytics consultant) on a transition plan. This usually includes key "due dates" during the transition to provide you with some goals to work toward and ensure you stay on track.
During the time you're moving your documents and operations to a remote server, you may simultaneously want to begin gathering the analytics data you'll be using to direct your marketing efforts going forward. By having this data at the ready (and ready to be analyzed) while you're still working toward a full cloud computing system, you'll avoid duplication of effort or redundancy as you transfer files over.
For example, if you learn that very few of your customers currently take advantage of your loyalty program, you'll want to dig deeper into the why before you take steps to transfer this information over to the cloud. You may find that it's because your program isn't being publicized well enough or because your employees are soliciting information (like phone number and email address) in a way that makes customers uncomfortable, causing them to decline to provide this information rather than take advantage of your program.
Once you've finished your transition to the cloud, you'll still want to continue to update your analytics measures and tweak your marketing plan to accommodate any changes in the local market or even in your own customer base. If a product you carry suddenly becomes all the rage among tweens or teens, you'll need to adjust your marketing strategy if your primary customer base usually tends to be people in their forties or fifties. Consider investing in something like GP online to help you track your analytics.