Since the pandemic started, government agencies and various organizations rely on data to strategize ways on combatting the spread of the virus while keeping the public up to date. In the same way, your business can take advantage of third-party data (if readily available) and your own data to bounce back from the unexpected blow of the pandemic. Those sets of information logged in your POS systems mean more than just a record of items your store has sold for the day. Here’s how data can help businesses stay afloat in these unprecedented times.
Keep tabs on emerging industry trends
New trends are emerging as various businesses pivot to adapt to the new norms. Consumers are turning more and more to e-commerce as retail stores tap online platforms to cater to people restricted by lockdowns. A report by the World Trade Organization states that “the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that e-commerce can be an important tool/solution for consumers in times of crisis, and that it is also an economic driver, including for small businesses.”
Space Encounters Gallery was forced to temporarily close its doors and halt its monthly exhibit openings since Metro Manila was put on lockdown last March 15. But the gallery has since gained more attention, thanks to aggressive online selling and promotions. “We received a bigger influx of online inquiries, especially after Art for Science was launched. Since we mainly promote the artworks through Instagram, we usually receive more inquiries there, but Facebook inquiries have also gained traction as of late,” says Kyra Co, gallery manager. While payments for reserved artworks are usually done via online fund transfers, the gallery now also transacts through mobile wallet (like GCash and PayMaya) for customer convenience.
Such shift to e-commerce gives birth to other requirements businesses have to address: the need for more contactless payment options, opportunities for automated systems, and increased demand for faster deliveries, according to this article by Forbes.com.
There are a lot of resources on the internet that details rising trends, but it’s best to also take a closer look at your company’s data. Are certain products getting more interest these days than they did pre-COVID-19? Promote those more aggressively or innovate based on those popular items. Getting a pulse on trends will give you more insights on how your business can adapt to the changing landscape.
Know where your market is now
In Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, gaming and entertainment applications became in demand as foot traffic in malls naturally declined, according to a study done by data intelligence and digital marketing company ADA. As such, says ADA, it would be wise to promote your brand through popular apps to capture potential customers.
Using data, ADA posits that “marketers can get pinpoint precision and be more specific about their target audience personas as hyper-targeting moves beyond the broad components of demographics (like age and gender) to specific attributes based on psychographics (like their habits, hobbies, and behaviour online).” Data collected through your store’s website and social media accounts (take, for instance, Instagram Insights and Facebook Analytics) can give you these valuable sets of information.
Now more than ever, it is important to know where your market is: what time they’re online, what takes up most of that time they’re hooked on the web, what their purchasing habits are, what they’re requesting for, where traffic from your website is coming from, and all other important details. Wherever they are, be there.
Make data-informed decisions
Starbucks is a great example of a business that maximizes data analytics for business intelligence. Through geospatial analysis, which takes a deeper look into location-based data and (in this case) its relation to Starbucks’s customers and general operations, this multinational coffee chain is able to determine key decisions that enable it to further scale its business.
Starbucks’s collected data shows which locations are viable for expansion based on population density and competitor presence. It also takes a look at weather patterns to see which of its branches should promote either Frappuccino or hot beverages (it’s senseless, of course, to promote piping hot coffee when a city is expected to experience scorching temperatures in the next two weeks). The company also tracks customer sentiments on Twitter so it can adapt to its market’s preferences when necessary.
Take a cue from this successful corporation and make good use of your data to recalibrate business operations. For instance: As people spend more time indoors and as telecommuting becomes a standard work setup post-pandemic, consumers will look for more pick-up and delivery services. To answer this demand, why not evaluate your logistical operations based on historical location data you’ve collected? This will help you plan for and execute efficient strategies (e.g., delivery or pick-up routes and schedules, allocation of resources) when it comes to delivering goods to your customers and procuring materials from your suppliers.
Sift through the figures to see what adjustments are needed to keep your business afloat. Leaning into data and putting all the information you’ve gathered to practical use will put you back in control.
Visit Pushpins if you want to know more about location-based data and how it can help your business or organization.