While store dashboards are ubiquitous in retail, today’s store leaders need more than numbers on a screen. 

Store managers thrive when they have the relevant data at their fingertips to make decisions quickly without getting bogged down in analysis or data manipulation. 

Traditional store dashboards address only the first step in this process—serving up the numbers—yet, they rarely attempt to answer critical business questions including: 

  • What does this mean for my business?
  • What can do I about it?
  • What should I do now (what’s my best next action)?

People managers, not data scientists

Your store managers’ time is best spent solving problems, not crunching numbers. However, most retail dashboards require managers to devote multiple hours per week to analyzing and interpreting data.

Whether your team uses a sophisticated business intelligence system or a collection of Excel spreadsheets, chances are good that your store leaders are challenged to find the time to decipher store data to arrive at business insights that drive the business forward. Their skill set and passion lies in managing people and selling product – not in data science. 

Making the most of store data 

This doesn’t discount the value of store data, however. It’s essential that retailers leverage data to make sound business decisions, particularly in today’s hyper-competitive retail environment. 

The key is finding the right retail technology solution that frees up your team’s time and guides them toward the “best next step” on the sales floor.

At the start of every day, each of your store leaders should be able to answer:

  • What are the key risks and opportunities to store performance in the next shift?
  • What skills or behaviors do I need to coach my store associates on to improve store performance today? 
  • When should I assign my most skilled customer-facing associates to the sales floor, based on projected hourly traffic levels?
  • When should I schedule non-customer facing tasks so that my store associates can make the most of every in-store interaction while completing our to-do list?

A speedometer versus a GPS

The right store management technology solution goes beyond dashboards. 

Dashboards are essentially a speedometer, informing managers of the basics of “how much” (average order size) and “how many” (number of transactions, number of store visits).  

More powerful store day management solutions, on the other hand, resemble Waze (or GPS) for store leaders, addressing the underlying questions that drive the business:

  • Where do I need to go? What are my goals for today and how does that stack up against my performance this week or this month? 
  • What’s the best route to get there? Using the performance levers that are within my control as a store leader (increasing conversion, upselling and cross-selling, etc.) how can I increase my chances of making my sales plan today?
  • What obstacles might I encounter on my route and how can I avoid them? How can I meet my goals while taking into account factors outside of my control such as lower traffic or an inexperienced associate team? What can I do to compensate, such as shifting assignments, providing real-time training via self-service 3-minute skills videos, etc.?

Store leaders can realize significantly more value from robust tools that pair the functionality of a dashboard with a smart recommendation engine, on-demand skills videos, and easy-to-use frameworks for all levels of the organization. When stores can leverage the full potential of their store data to drive performance, the impact on store performance—and customer experience—is profound.