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4 Ways a Retail POS Solution Can Maximize the Value of Your Data

Maximizing the value of your data with POS solutions

“Knowledge is power” holds true in retail, but the strength of your data depends on your retail point of sale (POS) solution.

The ideal retail POS solution for your business will collect the most valuable types of consumer data in an effective and unobtrusive way. Here are four keys to consider:

  1. Know how much information your customers expect to freely give you: This depends on your industry, what you are selling and your clientele. High-end stores, for example, naturally gain customers’ trust because their exclusive clientele expect to be catered to.

    Often in high-end stores, each transaction is associated with a customer. If the customer is not in the store’s retail POS system, the sales associate will likely ask the customer to fill out a form seeking personal information to input into the retail POS system. So, if the customer is buying a $3,500 suit and coming back to the store for fittings, that customer probably has more time and willingness to fill out a form.

    However, in lower-end stores, collecting customer data is a matter of speed. The best way to quickly and unobtrusively gather data is for the sales associate to ask or assume the customer’s basic demographic data — gender, age range and zip code — and key the information into the retail POS system at checkout.

  2. Start collecting demographic data: If you are not able to associate each sales transaction with an individual customer, the first type of customer data to collect is demographics. This enables you to gain statistical information of your customers, such as buying habits of male shoppers over 30 years old or people shopping during a specific time frame. This can help you make changes to the store or blast coupons to a specific group.

    For example, if your business is a men’s clothing store, customer data can reveal the percentage of female customers who are shopping for the men in their families or male friends. That could determine your presentation or promotion for your area. With specialty retailers, customers are typically shopping for specific items and are more hesitant to make an impulse buy. But if you have a grocery store, targeting coupons toward customers who are more likely to purchase a type of item is an effective strategy.

  3. Analyze buying history: Retailers should know the types of products their individual customers or groups of customers are buying, including the timeframe of purchases or the combination of products purchased.

    Along these same lines, other valuable customer data involves the use of coupons or offers. It’s important to distinguish between customers who will only buy things on sale or with coupons versus people who will purchase a product at full price. For a customer who buys products without needing a coupon, you could send promotional information, such as notifying them that a certain product is back in stock, rather than waiting until you promote the product as being deeply discounted.

  4. Pinpoint trends: Putting together trends is a difficult part of data collecting. You need the right analytical tools like retail POS software to crunch the numbers the software is collecting and to look for specific trends.

    But even if you have a plethora of customer data, your software can’t tell you that beer and diapers are the top sellers in a specific age range. You need to establish a baseline of information in your retail POS software by asking customers the right questions. If you don’t have the right data to begin with, you will encounter challenges when ascertaining customer trends.

    The best way to gather detailed customer data is through a loyalty program. With a customer loyalty program, sales associates do not have to input customer data into a retail POS system because the sale is already associated with a member identification number. When your store promotes different offers or other store features, the loyalty program could serve as an incentive for customers to submit more demographic information. For example, you could offer a specific coupon to the customer if he or she provides data such as gender, birthday, mobile phone number, etc., on their customer loyalty account.

These four tips should help you to select the retail POS solution that can best gather valuable consumer data in a way that meets your customers’ needs.