Use the data from your sales to inform better business decisions.
Use the data from your sales to inform better business decisions.

Knowing when to order more goods for your C-store without overstocking can feel like an art form, but it’s actually scientific. With the right information, you’ll know what your customers want, what to charge for it and how much to keep on shelves. We live in a time when big data is right at our fingertips, allowing us to analyze the spending habits of customers in our stores. Of course, what you do with the data you have is perhaps more important than simply gathering the information. Here are some tips for using C-store data effectively:

Customize reports
Most reports come with set data categories giving you insights into buyer behavior. Default settings provide information C-store managers and owners generally want, but that doesn’t mean it’s showing you exactly what you’re interested in. If you have the option, customize your reports to reflect the statistics you want to know.

Ask questions
Perhaps the most challenging part of big data is analyzing it in a way that helps your business. Simply knowing which items in your store are most popular won’t guarantee satisfied customers and increased sales. You have to let the information inform future decisions. To do this, ask questions whenever you look at reports. What does the data mean? What does it say about your consumers? How should it affect your policies and choices?

Ask these and other questions whenever you go over store reports. Also watch out for how your decisions affect future data. Did a choice to order more of a popular item lead to better sales? Or, did you misinterpret the data and end up with negative results? Knowing where you started and the ways in which information and choices informed by it affect your bottom line is key to creating success.

Predict interests
Online stores often suggest items buyers might like based on their past purchases. Ecommerce sites are able to do this using consumer data. You can do something similar to increase upsells by visually suggesting additional purchases. For instance, if your data shows that customers who buy coffee also buy sweets, place those items near one another in your store. Or, stock items that are usually impulse buys near the counter. This fortifies connections your customers already have in a way that can help you improve business.

Train staff
While you may not want your whole staff to have access to store reports, you can train them using the information you’ve received. How your customers shop is valuable insight for cashiers, who are the last shot at making additional sales. They can suggest additional items for costumers to try, and they’ll be more successful armed with knowledge. As such, let your data inform your training practices.

Use information for promotions
Promotions offer opportunities to get more unique costumers or to bring back regulars. Loyalty programs are perhaps the most popular for C-stores. Of course, the rewards you offer repeat visitors should reflect their interests if they’re to be effective. That’s where big data comes in. Not only does it show what your customers regularly purchase, but it can also predict trends outside of your industry that could impact your C-store. For instance, the rise of smartphone apps presents an opportunity to create a digital platform for your rewards program.

Whether you get data from store-management software or industry trend reports, you can use it to generate revenue in your C-store. Don’t take access to information for granted, and instead spend time analyzing it and using it to improve operations.