September 23, 2016
C-Store owners challenge data geeks to do something useful for their sales results. For example, using tools to make your c-store data sell more snickers. They often argue that data cannot sell anything or help with the real work of providing convenience. Obviously, they are right in many ways. It is the c-store staff that perform the real work to make service great and keep customers visiting. Nonetheless, awareness of your Snicker sales matters. Quickly knowing sales are low, allows for fast correction. It begs the question as to what actions can be taken. Using data in this manner helps.
Data Analytics and AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology can determine suggestions for action. Corrective actions can be identified based your trends and analysis. Data analytics combined with AI generates sales suggestions. These tools find and prioritize things to fix. The result can be better actions based on feedback found within your data.
In makes sense intuitively. All c-store managers have key performance indicators that they watch, using their database makes it easier to identify, communicate and even improve results. Many operators want to keep a steady watch on the numbers. They know that tracking accurately makes a difference to the way staff work.
4 Ways to Make your C-Store Data Sell More Snickers.
- TIMELY – It must be timely. If the data comes too late, it is much harder to think about the cause and come up with an action. If a problem is revenue related it increases the loss
- SIMPLE – It must be simple to understand. Scorecards for operations people must be simple and quik or they will not use them. Operations people are too busy working with customers where they cannot take a lot of time each day to analyze and process.
- CONTROLLABLE – It must be something that can be controlled. Almost every C-Store operator expects the store manager to do a lot more with inside sales than gas. Gas sales are much harder to control. The more control the person feels they can have, the more likely they will be motivated by business intelligence. Balancing the view and the measurements between financial, operational, customer and training can give a store manager a fair approach and make it clear that they can, if not control, exert great influence over their results.
- MEANINGFUL – It must be a comparison to the same things:
- day last week
- week last year
- holiday last year
- weather for comparison date
Numbers without context are not very helpful. If you have comparison numbers you can tell quickly which direction things are heading. Of course, there are other circumstances but comparing the same store numbers to similar situations makes things more useful. No one would compare an 18-bay, interstate store to a 2-bay, rural store and expect to see similar numbers.
Data Teamed with Staff to Sell Snickers
No one thinks numbers alone will sell more snickers. As with any good team, it takes participation to get optimal results. Business intelligence alone will not make a great store. Teamed with the right staff and leadership, however, it can drive your performance.