Retail Execution

Optimizing Retail Strategy: Balancing Data Collection with Actionable Insights

Implementing technology solutions in retail environments presents several challenges, particularly in balancing the volume of data a brand wants to collect with the utility of that data, as well as the realities involved with in-store data collection (by field reps or mystery shoppers).

A common issue Wiser Solutions experiences with customers is the inclination to gather excessive information, leading to field reps spending considerable time in stores, often manually, collecting upwards of 30 metrics, the majority of which end up not being used. This inefficiency not only burdens the field reps but also dilutes the focus on actionable insights that could drive meaningful changes in retail execution.

To address this challenge, it is crucial to adopt a strategic approach to data collection, focusing on metrics that offer real value and actionable insights.

This involves conducting working sessions with customers to guide them on identifying the most impactful metrics. These sessions typically involve key stakeholders, including decision-makers, the primary point of contact (usually a director or manager), and, importantly, a representative from the field team who can provide practical insights and help secure buy-in from the field level. Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Engagement Managers (EMs) also play a pivotal role in facilitating these discussions and ensuring that the selected metrics align with best practices and the brand’s strategic goals.

One area of contention often arises around the desire for comprehensive oversight, such as tracking the exact time reps enter and spend in a store or on specific activities. While seemingly valuable, this “big brother” approach can detract from the primary objective of optimizing retail execution.

It often results in reps spending excessive time reporting on their movements rather than focusing on high-value activities. Moreover, overly detailed tracking can shift the focus from using data as a motivational tool to highlight and incentivize high-performing reps, to a punitive tool that merely checks compliance with expected behaviors. Another example is the insistence on counting product facings without the aid of image recognition technology, a task that can be time-consuming and of limited strategic value. Similarly, asking reps to report pricing information for every store, region, and activity can be redundant and inefficient.

The solution lies in prioritizing metrics that directly contribute to understanding and improving retail execution. By concentrating on data that identifies opportunities for growth, rewards high-performing reps, and provides clear, actionable insights, brands can enhance their retail strategies without overwhelming their field teams. This balanced approach ensures that technology solutions in retail environments are not just about data collection but about collecting the right data that drives decision-making and ultimately, sales performance.

Editor’s Note: Contributing author is Dan Ray, Director of Customer Success at Wiser Solutions.

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