Your retail system collects a nearly infinite amount of raw data every year, but what do you do with it all? Here’s how you can make your collected data more manageable and, therefore, useful for you and your business.

Data is everywhere in the retail environment, as there are records of every transaction and interaction, both in brick and mortar locations and online. The problem is that there is so much data available that it becomes overwhelming, and it’s often easier to ignore it.

Much of the information that you collect falls under the category of big data, which is often a jumbled mess of interactions between your company’s computers that your system can’t interpret. It’s also very expensive to purchase and maintain the tools and technologies big data collection requires.

There is a solution, however, and it involves downsizing this data collection into more manageable segments and only analyzing what you need, rather than everything that you collect.

Here’s how it works.

What is big data?

Retail companies spend all day collecting data. You might not even realize how much data your company retains. Every interaction within the retail space, be it business transactions, social media interactions, or machine data communication, is recorded in some way.

All this information is interpreted, analyzed, and used in the company’s decision-making process. The problem is that the pure quantity of information available is overwhelming to the point where it becomes a waste of resources.

For starters, you have to come up with a place to store this information, which will cost your business money. In addition, your analyzing technologies spend all of their time going through pages of machine-to-machine communications to come up with a pattern that you can actually use.

The recording of this information is an example of big data, and it’s so massive that your basic data-analyzing techniques and technologies won’t be able to make sense of it. Big data is vague and often unstructured, as well, so it’s hard work to use it efficiently.

Even when the data is structured, you’ll struggle to work through it all unless you own high-priced data-analyzing technology, which most retail businesses do not.

So, what’s the plan?

Small data explained

Implementing small data collection techniques, that offer easier to digest information, can help you achieve results. Small data provides information that you can understand and use because it isn’t full of unneeded or redundant information like big data.

Obtaining small data involves taking the larger chunks of data and breaking them down into smaller pieces that your systems can analyze. You’ll only collect what you need, rather than every piece of information pertaining to your business.

You can keep track of small data by having the right retail system in place. For example, your business might keep a detailed log regarding every business-related activity that happens on a given day. You can extract information on sales, security, marketing, and finance from this log, providing relevant information on your day-to-day business operations.

By looking at the relevant data, rather than every single thing that goes on within the business, you’ll be presented with understandable information and can make the necessary changes based on it.

Once you’ve collected usable data, you can start implementing its suggestions into your business’ day-to-day operations.

For example, many retail companies use the data collected to create a more pleasurable shopping experience. The data that you accumulate on an individual shopper allows you to make custom recommendations and extend special offers, which can help increase sales. Your email list and customer loyalty program are great ways to collect this information.

A slightly more direct method of data collection that can improve your overall customer experience involves asking customers to fill out surveys or reviews. In this scenario, your shoppers will let you know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, enabling you to make specific changes that will improve the customer’s experience.

Tracking your marketing collateral allows you to change aspects that aren’t working. For example, if your social media posts aren’t receiving any comments, likes, or shares, it’s a good idea to change your strategy. A more advanced technique involves seeing how long potential customers spend viewing your content and watching your videos. If they are clicking away in a matter of seconds, that content needs to be reviewed and improved.

The products you offer in your retail space should come down to what your customers want. But what do they want?

You’ll have to review the data. Your data will show you what’s moving and how your customers are responding to your current products. Once you notice the trend, you can move your business in a direction that inspires more sales.

The first step, however, is putting the right system into place.

How to implement your small data collection system

This all sounds simple, right?

Kind of, but there’s a bit more to it.

You’ll still need data-analyzing technology to make sense of your information logs. Your retail system can do this for you, as today’s systems can convert large pieces of data into more manageable patterns, which you can then implement into your strategy.

Sophelle can help you develop a strategy, select the right retail system, implement the system, and optimize the technology in a way that suits your business best. Our experts get everything on track quickly and ensure that your retail system runs smoothly, helping to make use of any data you collect. Contact Sophelle today to learn how our retail systems can assist you in maximizing the efficiency and usefulness of your data.