Reflecting on past business operations provides the chance to rediscover what was successful,what wasn’t, where opportunities were gained and where opportunities were missed. This is among the most critical journeys retailers need to make as they begin to look ahead for their businesses. Among the ways in which retailers can do this entails them looking backwards,however.
To help create a roadmap that will lead retailers to future success, it’s important to first identify the following:
1. Where was the majority of time spent on your business operations? Whether you own a single store, operate multiple storefronts or sell inventory exclusively online, there has undoubtedly been a lot to do on your to-do-list. Keeping this in mind, retail decision makers must be intentional with their time in order to be both productive and profitable.Ask yourself, where was your time spent? And was it productive?
2.What were the strongest categories of inventory sold in your sales history prior to COVID-19? What were the weakest? Reflecting on this data, also consider what vendors performed better than others, what items were your top sellers and what items did not perform as expected.
3.What percentage of your sales were due to staple items versus statement items? In other words, has your business been more dependent on trends or seasonal goods or does it lean heavier towards staple inventory such as a white t-shirt is to a statement item such as a graphic t-shirt.
4.How much of your operational budget was spent on employees? This reflection process should include contract workers and internal hires alike, with an emphasis on understanding how their investment impacted the sales and operations of your retail business.
5.How much of your operational budget was spend on marketing? From in-store marketing to local reach marketing such as advertising in publications to online marketing such as Facebook ads, review what your spend was here prior to COVID-19.Then take an analysis on the return of investment these experiences gave you, narrowing in on the value they added to your store visibility and sales.
Throughout your entire review process, make sure numbers and the data in which they reveal bring clarity to your understanding of your unique business. Beyond store data generated from sales, you should also review the data generated from social media, email marketing, google analytics and all other digital touchpoints that reveal insight from both your employee and customer engagement. Collectively, these efforts will better position you to move ahead in your journey of achieving store success in our new world of COVID-19 centric retail.
The foundation of retailers must be to strengthen balance sheets and have adequate cash flow. The core to surviving, however, is to accept that even very good is not good enough anymore. Brands must be truly remarkable.
-— Steve Dennis, Forbes Contributor and Author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption
Review data! From inventory to social media to email marketing to customer management and more, data is available to offer clarity to your business. The catch? You need to be proactive in reviewing your data in order to become profitable when it comes to reacting to it.