One of the ultimate goals for successful retailing is to achieve an optimal balance of product assortment, shelf presentation, pricing, and promotion – aka the four Ps of retailing.
The fact is there’s just too much information regarding sales, costs, and customer behaviors pouring in across multiple locations. And that can be vexing for retail executives who need to quickly and effectively determine which approaches are working well in some stores and where tactical adjustments should be made in others.
Data visualization tools and techniques can help retail executives bring this complexity into focus. For instance, a regional manager for a supermarket chain can use point of sale data and data visualization tools to more easily compare and contrast the performances of different product promotions between stores in a particular area.
While analytics and visualizations often default to bar charts and pie graphs, the use of heat maps and other, more graphical, visualization techniques are better suited to highlighting scenarios determining which products sold particularly well during a recent promotion by store location and which products lagged.
Taking this example a step further, let’s say 10 stores for a supermarket chain in Connecticut each used similar advertising and pricing to promote the sale of a brand of yogurt during a four-day promotion (e.g., “buy six for $10”).
The yogurt sells briskly in four of the stores, enabling them to achieve their revenue and profit targets. However, two of the other six stores just miss their targets and four stores miss their targets by more than 20 percent.
By drilling down on the data, the regional manager is able to determine that the four stores with lagging sales positioned the yogurt differently that the stores that reached their revenue and profit goals.
Each of the top performing stores displayed the different flavors of the yogurt being promoted evenly across four shelves, making it easy for customers to find the flavors they preferred in order to mix and match at least six of them as per the deal.
By contrast, each of the underperforming stores clustered all of the different flavors of yogurt across just two shelves. This made it difficult for customers to find particular flavors that likely were buried on the backs of the shelves, leading a high number of customers to abandon their purchases.
The regional manager was able to share these insights with the managers of each of the underperforming stores and offer recommendations to improve the display and sales of the yogurts in future promotions.
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