Ritchie Djamhur sheds light on the technology products and services that can help business owners grow their business.
Sales in a technology-centric environment is potentially one of the most interesting areas to be involved in – the products are continuously being refreshed, features are updated and there is a definitive product lifecycle to help retain customers as their needs grow and change.
With the sales of technology products and services comes the opportunity to analyse sales figures using technology-based measurements.
Let’s look at some tools you can use technology to your advantage and adapt your business to the information you can capture. The great news is your business doesn’t even have to be a technology business to make full use of these tools.
Traffic counters are invaluable when it comes to delivering a whole slew of metrics for physical store-based sales. Traffic counters provide:
A baseline for determining the impact of marketing activities
If you publish an offer in a newspaper, online or through letter drops, you will be able to gauge the immediate effect of that promotion with increases in traffic levels in the store. This will assist in better formulating your marketing spend and strategy.
A trendline for seasonal and cyclic factors
You might find that during certain times of the year, traffic increases for obvious reasons like end of financial year, Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, and other celebratory milestones. However, you might also see spikes in traffic for other reasons, like new product releases and your own engineered events.
Looking at the trend for a longer period will give you more data to overlay your own knowledge along with seasonal spikes, and help with future promotional plans.
Tracking when traffic peaks
Knowing traffic counts per hour will help you align your staff wage investment with the need to deliver optimum customer service. If your traffic only starts building from mid-morning, you may only need skeleton staff for those times, freeing up wage spend for periods where customers are more likely to enter the store. It may also provide clues for optimising opening and closing times.
A strong CRM (customer relationship management) strategy is the backbone of many businesses. The ability to capture postcodes and email addresses from your customers at the point of purchase can provide a platform to engage with those who have already bought and therefore had a good experience with your brand.
A word of warning: ensure you do follow the privacy laws when taking your customer’s email address and using it to send offers and other electronic marketing material.
The use of a closed intranet for staff communication is also a great way to increase sales by keeping staff up to date on the latest incoming stock, promotions and incentives.
By making logging on to the intranet on a daily basis a prerequisite for sales team members, you have a higher chance of information flowing to the “last three feet” to assist them in converting that invaluable traffic flow into paying customers.
Analysing customer traffic to your website is also a great way to glean vital knowledge about your online visitors and what they are doing when they are on your site. Very useful analytics include:
Knowing where your customer came from and how they landed on your page could provide great insight into where your brand is being exposed on the internet.
For example, you might have voucher codes that you’ve released and there are certain websites that promote these way higher than others - it’s worth forming a relationship with those other websites to maximise your conversion potential.
Dwell time and bounce rate
Dwell time and bounce rate also provide a good indication on what pages are compelling and leading to sales, and which need work. For example, a product page with an embedded video might have a dwell time triple that of other pages, which means they are watching the video and engaging with your brand.
You could then use your video to push a call to action to convert those viewers. On the flip side, pages that have a high bounce rate, that is pages that visitors leave to go off your site completely, may need work to keep them interested or compelling enough to either buy or browse other areas of your site.
Ranking your pages by pure visitation numbers will also tell a story about what categories or areas of your site are of most interest. For example, your website might sell online but you have a high visit rate to the store locator.
In this case, you would want to make sure the store locator page is as informative and engaging as possible to help move the potential sale from online to offline.
These are just some of the tools you could use, regardless of the type of business you are in. Technology can sometimes be intimidating, but with the right tools at hand and people in your company that can make sense of “Big Data” for real world tactical and strategic insights, you could be adding to your sales and profit opportunities.
Ritchie Djamhur is a Sydney-based technology media commentator.