Retail analytics has developed tremendously in recent years. With access to endless data, businesses can now use retail analytics to track customer behaviour and analyse historical data to predict future trends and behaviours.

Gathering and analysing the right data allows businesses to create informed pricing strategies, plan sales and seasonal discounts, accurately plan stock levels and keep up to date with market trends. All of these then allow businesses to better strategise their operations, improve customer satisfaction, increase sales and ultimate boost their profits.

In today’s market, these insights are not just luxuries. Business must keep up with this type of analytical thinking in order to remain even remotely relevant in an increasingly competitive market. It’s not enough to simply guess or follow your gut, using hard data to inform your decisions as a business is paramount. Having the right retail intelligence tools is therefore essential in order to survive as a business.

But what exactly should you be looking for in a retail intelligence tool and how can it help you thrive as a business?

1) Point of Sales Reporting

Whether we’re looking at a brick and mortar operation or an online store, tracking and analysing what people are buying at the point of sale is absolutely essential. It’s not enough to simply track how much you are selling, but rather you should be looking at other metrics such as profit margin, basket sizes, sales trends and customer counts.

This kind of analytics can help you understand what people are buying and when. This can in turn help inform you about which products to stock and when what your busiest times of day, week or year are as well as what kinds of products your customers tend to prefer.

2) Customisable Competitor Monitoring

It’s not enough to simply look at your own data, you need a retail intelligence tool that helps you to track and monitor your competitors too. The best analytics software on the market today allows you to control where you retrieve your data from in the market. A minimum of three sources is required in order to receive adequate market insights but many experts suggest five separate sources of information for optimal performance.

Tracking your competitors’ sales data allows you to understand trends in the wider market rather than just your own. You can understand which products consumers prefer, predict future marketing trends, understand seasonal demands and maximise profits with optimal pricing.

3) Trend Prediction

This capability within retail analytics software is key to maximising your profit. Knowing when your customers are likely to want certain products allows you to ensure that you have sufficient stock at the right times. This ensures that you don’t miss out on sales over something as simple as having enough stock. It also enables you to select the most profitable product catalogue based on knowing what customers are likely to want at any given time as well as how much they’re willing to pay for their products.

4) Real-Time Pricing and Product Assortment

We’ve already established that knowing what to sell, when to sell it and how much to sell it for is key to maximising your profits. But with so much information available to business across the market, and with a large amount of these now operating as online stores, it’s no longer enough to put these plans into motion next week, next month or next season. In order to remain competitive, you need to be able to adjust your pricing and product assortment in real-time.

Customers can now shop around to find the best deal at the click of a button. So in order to convert sales, you need to be able to adjust your prices and product assortments as and when things change in the market. Whether it’s customer demand for a certain product or a major competitor dropping their prices, you need to be able to react and adjust in real-time in order to stay in the game.

5) Onsite Cross-Selling

Why settle for selling one product when you could sell two or three? With onsite cross-selling and purchase recommendations, you can encourage shoppers to buy more based on their current and previous browsing habits. With the right retail intelligence tool, you can use past and current browsing habits, previous purchases, overall market trends and various other factors to suggest certain products to customers as they browse your sight. This helps increase your chances of selling certain products and increasing your profit margins.

6) Data Mining

In today’s super-competitive market, it’s not enough to simply look at the surface data. You need analytics software that is able to collect data from every single part of the process all the way from Supply Chain metrics through to catalogue assortment and retail pricing. This allows personnel and key stakeholders across your business to make smart and informed decisions which can improve sales and boost profits.

Conclusion

In today’s digital climate, real-time market and sales analytics is essential to your survival as a business. It’s not enough to simply look at the total amount of products sold, you need to take a deep-dive into all available data. This includes what is being sold, when, where, how and by whom. You also need to keep a close eye on your key competitors and be able to make adjustments and changes in real-time in order to stay competitive.

Although this seems like a near-impossible task, the analytics software to achieve all of this is out there. And with the right retail intelligence tool, the sky really is the limit.