This guest post was contributed by T.J. Blons, Sales Manager, Supplier Analytics at SPS Commerce, a ThirdChannel partner.
Collaboration is sometimes a forgotten principle in retail. Brands and retailers are often so focused on their own individual objectives that they can overlook collaborative opportunities to improve in-store results and drive overall sales.
At SPS Commerce, we believe that analytics are the catalyst to fruitful supplier/retailer partnerships. Both parties share similar challenges: retailers are working hard to keep shoppers engaged in-store, and part of that means ensuring that they have the right volume and mix of product assortments to meet customer demand. At the same time, brands want to ensure that their investments are working across their entire retail footprints, while maintaining strong relationships with the retailers that help them reach their customers.
Point-of-sale analytics help brands and retailers bridge the gap and collaborate. Here’s how real-world brands have put data to work to drive better results in brick-and-mortar stores.
Making Strategic Retail Decisions
Analytics give brands the insight they need to try out new sales-driving retail strategies, which is especially important in an industry like fashion, where tastes are fickle and customer demands change frequently.
For example, Kate Spade & Company entered into a joint venture with Macy’s in which its branded mobile accessories would be placed throughout Macy’s retail stores. The venture was meant to target young female shoppers, but with limited time and without previous experience to guide the effort, they would need real-time sales data in order to optimize product assortments in each store.
Point-of-sale analytics offered those real-time insights into factors like inventory levels, merchandising, pricing and product lineups. As a result, Kate Spade could identify what’s selling at each individual location on an ongoing basis, and make fact-based decisions to keep assortments optimized, helping to improve sell-through and eliminate stock-outs.
Be a Better Partner to Retailers
Brands are being asked to support retailers in more ways, whether that’s by educating store associates on their products, taking more ownership of their in-store space, or feeding back sales insights that can help improve sell-through. Point-of-sales analytics puts suppliers in a better position to do all of that.
For Clark’s, visibility into sales data offers a better understanding of consumer buying habits, which enables the footwear brand to spot trends, even before their retail partners.
“We show up as such a trusted advisor for that retailer when we can say, ‘Hey, here’s a trend going on in your business that you may not have noticed yet, or maybe you noticed in some small way’. To be able to package that up as something that’s emerging and share it back with the retailer, they just appreciate so much that we’ve spotted this bubbling opportunity – or problem – and addressed it directly,” explained Christopher Marcal, Director of Customer Planning at Clark’s.
Ultimately, the collaboration benefits both parties: retailers gain the insight needed to improve sales velocity, balance inventory levels and enhance fulfillment performance. Meanwhile, brands identify opportunities that increase sell-through and build trusted partnerships. Everything starts with sales data, and when they combine that information with on-the-ground insights, stores can become even more analytics-driven and proactive in addressing retail execution challenges.