2/25/19 9:30 AM

Stocksy_txp29125a9beqF200_Medium_13501255 Baseline Retail Data Points to Live & Die By

A new renaissance of retail is emerging. Brands like Everlane, Bonobos and Candytopia, a pop-up candy museum, are proving that to in today’s 24/7 retail cycle, you need to solidify both your in-store and online experiences. 

As a product owner for Workarea, I partner with our clients to predict and prepare them for the next disruptive industry trend to make waves. One consistent disruptor is how to manage and act on data. It's important for retailers to understand not only how to  analyze the abundance of data points available to them, but moreover, how best to interpret them into an effective actionable plan.

Luckily, most ecommerce data insights tools have taken the guesswork out of identifying top selling channels, products and activities. Where it gets complicated is understanding the why behind those trends. While critical to your ecommerce strategy, this is an all-too-often overlooked step.

If you can’t supply the why behind your best selling channels, fear not -- you aren’t alone. Having spent several years in the seat of the merchant, it's my experience that retailers are quick to jump to the next big trend. And I get it, no on wants to fall behind. But real talk, if you cannot identify your company’s baseline ecommerce trends, you will not be empowered to make educated data-driven decisions that will lead to a long-lasting impact.


2019 Ecommerce Trends

Taking a look at some recent ecommerce trends as reported by Multichannel Merchant, there are a number of get-rich quick strategies that are tempting to go all-in on. These include:

  • Improving the In-Store Experience

  • Consumer Preference Towards Smaller Businesses

  • Highly Personalized Experiences

  • The Demand for Transparency

  • Creating Branded Experience with Retail-tainment

So how is it that the aspirational brands that we look up to become early adopters of trends; ultimately leading the way to innovation time and time again? My guess is they are relying on data-driven decision-making approach.


The New KPIs for Ecommerce Data

Ecommerce baseline trends can not only help to detect issues, but they can influence your future decision-making patterns. For example, take your retail site's curve of sales. It is an indicator of seasonal selling periods and when those periods will curl off. Most teams focus on the peaks and ignore the valleys. But what happens if you don’t make plan during your busiest selling season? Do you have a well researched and executable strategy in place for those lighter selling weeks or months? Chances are, probably not.

Here's some free advice: if you have a full year's worth of data, use it! Examine the curve closely and benchmark against issues, daily sales, etc. Tie specific and granular sales and marketing activities to the peaks and get behind the why. Why did consumers flood the site? Was it an SEO push by marketing? Retargeting ads? Top product recommendations? The more you can understand the why, the easier it is to create repeatable successes.


5 Baseline Retail Data Points to Live and Die By

Stuck on which data points to examine first? These are the top baseline retail data points you’ll want to pull and analyze daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly...you get the idea.   

Baseline data points

  • Average Order Value (AOV)

  • Conversion rate

  • Traffic to the site

  • Top Sellers

  • Top pages on the site

Because the Workarea platform is powered by universal search, our customers use it to understand the buyer intent. If your ecommerce platform doesn’t have this functionality built-in, you can use third-party tools like Hotjar or Mouseflow. By digging deep into the data, you can use simple tricks like this one to set up consistent streams of revenue generators. After all, who wouldn't want a steady flow of revenue? 

This gives teams the time and budget to play with innovative ideas. Think about it, if you could project the additional sales from a new revenue channel, you could make the case to fund a new idea you’ve dreaming up. Furthermore, if you go down the road of iteration and innovation, I highly recommend developing a roadmap to scale your ideas. Not only will this be helpful in eliciting executive buy-in, but when mapping out where you want to take your brand digitally or physically, you might see some not-so-obvious necessities. 

For example, if you want to introduce buy online pick up in-store, do you currently have the technology to do that? Also, could you potentially piggyback that off a loyalty program that you test with a small segmented user group before going all-in? I don’t know the answer, but I bet your data could give you a pretty good indicator if it’s possible.


Mya Gupta

Fashion and trend savvy digital professional with a proven track record for producing successful and engaging brand marketing programs from inception to completion. Specializing digital mediums, custom content, ecommerce and art direction.

Guest Contributor