HomeOPINIONKnow more, do better: Why maximising internal business data to improve retail performance matters 

Know more, do better: Why maximising internal business data to improve retail performance matters 

By Jo Tozer, MYOB 

As our economy continues to thrive somewhat better than expected, businesses everywhere are looking for an edge. But when it comes to improving business performance, customer data and sales data aren’t the only insights that should influence decision-making, particularly in the retail sector.  

In order to shore up success, a complete view of a business’s workflows is needed – after all, you can’t compete with poor information in an information age. Not only that, but using inaccurate or out-of-date information relating to internal operations, can result in businesses making the wrong calls or exacerbating issues.    

As more New Zealand retail businesses consider how they can further embrace technology and digital solutions for the benefit of both their company and their employees, there’s an argument to be had for investing in intelligent systems that link and manage internal workflows – from hard wiring compliance and minimising inefficiencies and errors, to empowering better decisions. Here we explore the latter.

A better view of sales data

In order to be useful, sales figures need to be linked to other data. In a digital workforce management system for example, managers can import current sales figures from a POS or CRM system and then look at how these figures stack up against labour costs. This helps you – the decision-maker – to calculate sales efficiency and automate insights for effective rostering decisions, which can be especially useful if your retail business is shift-based. For example, are your team on the floor when sales opportunities are at their peak? Does spending more on your labour force drive sales up? What happens to sales if you’re under or over-staffed?

On the flip side, labour is a critical cost for most mid-market businesses, so are there ways to reduce labour spend? Looking at ways to optimise what is often the largest cost in any business, can have a huge impact on profitability. This is why having access to both sales and labour data in one place, is essential for enabling retail managers to gather insights that help them understand how their business is tracking and how to make it hum.

Improving budgets, rosters and attendance

If your retail business manages a large group of employees, rostering and timesheets can wind up being a major headache.

Ensuring employees are working at the right time, in the right place and at the right cost (while also taking leave, compliance, and workforce levels into account), can be trying enough without going even deeper to look at variances and outcomes. 

Having rosters, timesheets, and attendance or leave insights easily accessible in a centralised platform, means it will be easier to see what’s working and what’s not, and you can use this intelligence to inform your reporting and generate sound data-led decisions. 

Real-time access to rostering information (and the impact of any changes) also means minor errors can be dealt with quickly before they become a recurring issue.

Keeping people detail at hand

Needing to keep track of many moving parts – contracts, compliance, health and safety, and more – your team leaders have a critical and complex role in managing employees. This is precisely why access to real-time data is important. 

Any digital workforce management solution worth its salt should provide you with visibility on things like: who has read and signed an updated copy of the company policy and who needs following up, whether a new hire has signed all the required forms or not, or notifying you in advance if a work visa or certification is about to expire. In a time of COVID-19, digital clock-in responses to questions around health, recent travel and doctor’s visits can also be managed quickly. 

Providing a central point that captures all documentation and reporting helps to keep information flow positive and reduces the chance of delays and non-compliance issues. 

When it comes to operating your retail business, while keeping track of various teams, processes, rosters, and sales data isn’t always straight-forward, there are ways to give you, your leaders and your team members a valuable, real-time view on the business and what is important to them, when they need it most.

We know the pace of business has accelerated and this isn’t going to slow down anytime soon – but this just means that management teams need quick, accurate information to keep up. The solutions to help managers improve the connections between this data, are out there and those who are willing to invest, will reap the rewards. 

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