Why Are Dynamic Retailers Using Custom Dashboards To Improve Business?

Businessman looking at business data on tablet

Dynamic retailers are using custom dashboards to deliver data at-a-glance to employees from the retail floor to the C-suite. The best dashboards are those that are customized to each role in your store.

There are two types of dashboard analytics: status oriented, such as “here’s where we stand” or “here’s how we are performing,” or exceptions that alert you to take action. Think of a status-oriented dashboard as a speedometer that shows current information, and an exception-oriented dashboard as a gas gauge that lights up and chimes when your vehicle is almost empty.

Using a combination of these two types of dashboard analytics can provide ideas on which custom displays would be beneficial for each employee in your retail operations. Here are four examples of how custom dashboards could work.

  1. Retail salespeople: From ringing up sales to helping customers decide what to purchase, salespeople are on the front line at your store. What’s especially useful is a dashboard that displays their sales goals and how that relates to their compensation. If these employees are commissioned-based, a dashboard may motivate them to be more aggressive with their sales. For example, the dashboard could show them in real time the amount of sales they need to reach that next level of commission or bonus.
  2. Store managers: Like employees, a dashboard for managers could display metrics that measure their job performance and compensation. But managers would also benefit from dashboard features such as alerts on when the stock on certain items is running low or metrics that show the movement of each product.

    Store managers often like to use dashboard analytics to track high-loss items. However, while dashboards can track remaining inventory, the best way to resolve inventory discrepancies is with a physical count. If that count reveals a difference in quantity than what the system states, those numbers must be reconciled in the system and an explanation entered, such as theft, damage or that the items were given away as a promotion. But dashboard analytics can help with inventory by including an acceptable loss percentage along with a threshold of when you should be alerted of a pending concern.

  3. Store buyers: Whether they are central or store-based, retail buyers need data that tracks and displays alerts of inventory replenishment levels. The dashboard must calculate what stores have on hand, inventory demand and vendor cycle for ordering.

    Buyers also find dashboards useful for tracking vendor performance, which can come in a number of flavors. For example, a buyer can have a metric that calculates the accuracy of vendor lead times, and if the dashboard displays figures that cause concern, the buyer can decide if it’s time to switch vendors.

    A buyer could also have a dashboard that shows how items supplied by a vendor are performing. This is especially useful in the apparel industry where buyers are consistently looking for styles that are selling well, and trying to find ways to increase sales on those that are not quite moving off the shelves as expected.

  4. Executives: An executive wants to see the organization’s bigger picture. Dashboards for the executives in your operations could display current spending against the organization’s budget, sales by store, margins from overall profitability and cash flow. At a glance, retail executives can see which areas are meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectations.

Although dashboards are a good quick indicator as to how things are shaping up, or what exceptions are triggered that requires action, look for a dashboard technology that will allow you to drill down to more detail. Some dashboards are just graphics that represent data, while others are the launching point for understanding the details and taking action when action is required.

To improve your business, follow the lead of dynamic retailers by creating custom dashboards that place the information most relevant to each role in your organization right at everyone’s fingertips.