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5 Tested Best Practices for Retail Analytics

You know you can’t make guesses when it comes to your customers, just as you can’t guess what type of apparel is in fashion for the current season. When you’re in the retail industry, everything needs to be calculated carefully to maximize your units per transaction, average dollar sales and improve your brand identity among your potential buyers and existing customers.

An effective retail analytics campaign can:

  • reveal the problems your customers are facing
  • uncover the concerns your store associates are facing
  • accurately analyze the behavior of your consumers
  • use the data generated to help increase brand awareness, as well as customer loyalty and retention rates.

If you’re searching for the ingredients required for an effective retail analytics campaign, check out the following five best practices.

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#1:  Create Objectives and Link Them to Your Business Strategies

It’s essential to know what your end goal is before you begin running a retail analytics campaign. Otherwise, it will feel as if you’re treading water in a vast open sea.

The key is to look at what your priorities are as a company right now. If you’re struggling with this, answer the following questions:

  • Are we trying to capture new customers in our stores?
  • Do we want to increase the average dollar sales of existing customers?
  • Are we looking for an improved convergence of retail & technology in our stores?
  • Are we trying to drive customers to more expensive product offerings?
  • Do we want to offer better customer service to increase customer loyalty?

Most importantly, make sure that your retail analytics campaign is tied directly to your business strategies. If you don’t, what’s the purpose of running the campaign?

#2:  Begin With the Data Right in Front of You

Retail analytics is a great way to uncover new data that will help your company make better business decisions, but you might be surprised how much data you already have sitting right under your nose.

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Before you begin looking at new data, it’s wise to start with the data you already possess and then determine what data you’ll need once you get going.

Information such as transaction history, order history, website analytics and other forms of online and offline data can be relatively simple to retrieve, but can prove invaluable down the road. Don’t spend all of your time searching for gaps in the data—just evaluate what you have and move forward from there.

It’s best to begin by creating a list of questions that your business needs to answer, and from those questions you’ll know what data is essential to success and what isn’t.

#3:  Focus on Achieving Small Successes on Your Way to Larger Goals

Once you dive into the data you have access to you’ll immediately be tempted to make a list of every piece of data you don’t have. While it is wise to write down where the gaps in the data are, don’t wait to move forward with your work until all the data is collected. If you do, you will have quite the overwhelming project on your hands.

Instead of halting the progress of your campaign, look for the small successes you can achieve in the short-term while still working on gathering all the data you’ll need for the long-term. It’s always smart to mark off the smaller projects and build up to the larger ones as your organization gains confidence with retail analytics.

#4:  Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

In today’s world consumers are always looking for the best discount and prices. Your apparel company needs to have technology in place that allows you to uncover valuable insights and transform those insights into strategies that will increase customer loyalty.

Every experience your customer has, whether online or offline, should make life easier for them. As a retailer, it is your responsibility to understand your customers and deliver a memorable in-store experience.

Retail analytics should help you understand the buying patterns of your customers and their preferences for the in-store experience. That information should then be used to personalize each customer’s shopping experience. Personalized customer experiences lead  the way to increased customer loyalty in a competitive market.

Your Campaign Needs to be Able to:

  • Analyze buyer behavior and predict future behavior
  • Highlight your company’s most loyal customers
  • Combine online and offline analytics
  • Be mobile-ready, both for staff and for customers
  • Evaluate social media behavior of existing and potential customers
  • Generate customer data that allows you to create personalized promotions and product offerings

#5:  Get the C-Suite on Board

The priorities of executive managers, directors and CEO’s may vary from company to company, but in the end their primary concerns will always be:

  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Improving the in-store experience
  • Driving sales
  • Loss prevention
  • Seeing a return on their investment.

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If you can prove that using retail analytics will give you an advantage over your competitors, drive more foot traffic to your stores, and improve your overall customer experience, you won’t have too much trouble convincing the C-Suite to get on board with retail analytics. If you can prove that the return will be worth the initial cost, you’ll be all set.

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If you want to run an effective retail analytics campaign, make sure you:

  • Create clear objectives that are linked to your business strategies
  • Begin with the data you have in front of you
  • Focus on achieving small successes first
  • Personalize the data
  • Get the C-Suite on board.

If you do this, you are well on your way to retail analytics success.

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