10 Retail Resolutions for the New Year
As retailers begin 2011, they need to tailor their operations to better meet the expectations of their increasingly savvy customers. While every retailer is different, with unique challenges, needs and business environments, there are massive opportunities to gain more intelligence and leverage existing data to streamline internal processes and potentially increase profits. Taking these opportunities into consideration, below are 10 resolutions that can help retailers make information-driven decisions that positively impact the bottom line:
1. Demand retail intelligence. Tracking trends, maintaining metrics and enabling other users to quickly access data can help employees easily identify buying trends and predict consumer behavior.
2. Rethink merchandising. Retailers stand to enhance how products reach their customers. With past buying data and behavior available to them, retailers can break down their customers into segments and prioritize them. Merchandise can then be selected specifically by store and placed in the right assortment and displayed in the most effective layout.
3. Optimize the shopping experience. Assess links and patterns to improve cross-sell or upsell opportunities, regardless of channel. By examining consumer behavior across multiple channels, retailers can improve how products are introduced, maximize browse-to-action conversions and leverage loyalty programs to increase retention.
4. Have each sale fuel the next one. Use detailed planning and forecasting to anticipate demand across all stores and channels for each item sold. Analyzing sales trends and inventory levels helps plan for future opportunities and prevents against any problems. By tracking data at the point of sale, retailers can quickly restock inventory to meet demand.
5. Create a targeted experience. Consistently monitor which customers are loyal, which customers are likely to leave, when they're likely to leave, and what factors influence their decisions to stay or go. All this information helps devise better strategies to retain them.
6. Improve customer service. Personalizing and providing quality customer communications will always remain extremely important. By having easy-to-access information for customers, such as recent purchases and location of purchases, retailers will be able to provide better and more informed customer service.
7. Organize the supply chain. Gaining insight into inventory can generate reliable estimates of short-, medium- and long-term demand so that services, products and distribution plans are always in place to meet expectations.
8. Beat the competition. This is a no-brainer on many retailers’ lists, but it’s time to stick to it. An assessment of key performance indicators — e.g., sales growth, inventory turns and frequency of stock-outs — will identify opportunities and gaps for profitability, process improvements and competitiveness.
9. Create a central data source. Comprehensive, fast and secure visibility across processes can drastically improve your bottom line and significantly enhance customer service. Create a central system where multiple users can quickly drill through accurate and easy-to-use data from a single source.
10. Leverage your existing assets. Although sales, trends and customer data exist, for many retailers they're often relegated to separate silos. The ability to monitor sales and other performance metrics across all locations can help all users rapidly identify and react to trends.