In today’s technology-fueled world customer loyalty isn’t a given. If your store doesn’t have what someone is looking for, they can shop somewhere else with just a cell phone and a few taps on the screen. Customers expect stores to meet their needs without expressing what they want. On the surface, the problem looks impossible. You can’t read your customer’s mind—or can you?
Business intelligence and big data use the information you encounter every day to optimize decision-making and enhance performance. Using big data, a nursing school can predict whether or not a student is likely to graduate based just on their introductory math grade. Every time someone checks out in your store or visits your website, the opportunity for insight into the customer is there, but the trick is finding the right tools to help you analyze this data. Business intelligence doesn’t stop there. It can also be used to improve your store’s efficiency, increase sales and measure performance.
For example, when setting up a Facebook advertising campaign, you can toss out a generalized blanket and hope to hit a few legitimate customers, getting a minimal return on investment, or you can target those specifically interested in what you are selling and maximize the ad’s potential for success. It’s a simple enough choice. However, manually collecting, compiling and interpreting this much data isn’t feasible for most stores. That’s where technology comes to the rescue.
Understanding your data can help you keep your market share and keep you ahead of the game with trend analysis. There is technology specifically designed for the needs of a college store that will help you compile this type of information. An integrated total store solution should have:
- A strong POS and mobile POS
- Inventory management for textbooks and merchandise
- Integrated accounting software
- A mobile friendly web store
- A loyalty program to encourage repeat business
- The ability to compile the data into usable reports and analyze performance would be a great start to increasing your business intelligence
A comprehensive system will help you better understand the information you already have, and you will spend a fraction of the time on the behind-the-scenes management of the store.