Data Benchmarks: Taking Uncertainty Out of the Shopping Season
With continual budgetary chaos in Washington, national administrative healthcare uncertainty, and weak employment numbers, retailers may be facing a grim holiday season. Especially when considering Gallup’s report of a downward estimate in average holiday spending from $786 in October to $704, showing only an increase of 1.7 percent over 2012.
Of course, it’s also possible that estimates of holiday spending could increase between the months of November and December. Bloomberg just revealed October sales had actually exceeded expectations showing that consumer spending is picking up. Retailers are hoping consumer optimism from a stronger stock market and cheaper gasoline rates will carry into the holidays. Whether optimistic or not, retailers must continually base accurate strategies on real-time decisions in spite of uncertain and unpredictable spending behaviors.
However, although it’s not possible to accurately predict the future, it is possible to use past data to make accurate decisions for today’s actions. While operating in an unpredictable landscape, there’s no time for retailers to be distracted by the nonessentials. They must know which factors they can control and on what they should focus. That is why data-driven strategies are paramount for a retailer to not just survive, but thrive. Consumer behaviors are shaped by a number of environmental, technological and financial factors, and retailers must have the means by which to capture, integrate, analyze and act upon all of the relevant data available to them.
It all starts with retailers not being misled by insights gleaned from data that doesn’t have intelligent business benchmarks by which to compare them. It’s these benchmarks that provide the right context for a more comprehensive picture of a store’s performance in relation to the shopping area, market, region or nation. Through our people-counting technology, ShopperTrak has perfected the factors necessary to condense massive amounts of data into benchmarks that allow clients to confidently make critical business decisions in spite of a changing landscape. Retailers know they can’t stick their heads in the sand waiting for things to get better. Our in-store analytics will help them more effectively navigate any shopping season by knowing the right actions to take.