~4 minute read

As many of today’s retailers move online and run hybrid businesses between an e-commerce platform and a bricks-and-mortar storefront, awareness of every part of the business (from the supplier warehouse to the customer’s shopping cart) is even more critical to scaling successfully.

Data enters retail software systems from multiple sources including POS systems and through the online checkout process. Customer experience is observed, tracked, and managed through in-store interactions and online reviews, while each stage of the digital customer journey can be more closely monitored using software.

It’s not uncommon for store managers to spend more time doing admin work in the back room than taking care of their customers. Their job is to help run the business, not just the sales floor. They need to manage labor costs, keep an eye on inventory, and make sure that the team is hitting their sales targets. Throughout these tasks, they may have to switch between several different software applications to get a holistic view of what’s going on in their store.

Read more: Delivering Customer Behavior Insights that Drive Growth at Scale

Within the retail software they’re using, managers need to be able to access information about stock and sales, as well as track the status of KPIs and progress towards campaign-specific targets. With a solution like AutoQL embedded in the software they already use to check on all this data, managers can just ask for the information they’re looking for and use it to communicate effectively with district leadership or leverage it to make better decisions for the business in real time.

For example, a part-owner and manager at a busy local clothing chain is primarily responsible for their “home” store, but they also offer assistance on-site at the two other locations in the city and oversee the online shopping experience they offer to customers. The manager needs direct and immediate access to sales and inventory data from the bricks-and-mortar shops as well as the e-commerce website.

Provide Zero Learning-Curve Data Access for Small Business OperatorsDeliver data on demand, seamlessly on users’ mobile devices for comprehensive answers, even on the go.

En route between stores, the manager uses their mobile advice to quickly gain insights about their business by asking questions like “How many of item X is on hand at location Y by size?” to check whether stock of a popular item is available and can be transferred from one store to the other.

They can also explore their data to find answers to questions like “Which store sold the most of item X during campaign A”, “What are the top five items sold at each store versus online?” or “Show me which store sold the most last month” to optimize sales at each store to serve specific customer demographics, and understand how online sales compare to overall storefront performance.

They could also look up data like “How many customers were served at store X have versus store Y last month?” or “Show me average sales per customer by store last year” to see if staff need to be reallocated across locations and how upcoming yearly events like summer vacation or the holidays are likely to affect foot traffic.

Read more: Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making at Agile SaaS Companies

With insight-rich information at their fingertips, managers (who aren’t trained data experts) can easily find the information they’re looking for in the ever-growing volume of data stored in the retail software they use. With a clearer view of fluctuating stock, changing customer behaviors, and sales success across locations and platforms, small business managers can make impactful decisions more easily and more often, and drive their business forward with confidence.

Leveraging this data-on-demand functionality, e-commerce and retail software providers can count on increased usage of their systems, leading to greater loyalty and evangelism among the users that already rely on them. They can expand to new user groups by offering a competitive edge when it comes to built-in reporting and analytics in their tool.

If they already serve enterprise-grade businesses, they can easily bring their solution to different tiers of customers by marketing the opportunity to take advantage of intuitive, self-serve data access options with zero learning-curve.