By Nicole Leinbach

Have you ever wondered why some retailers are more accomplished than others?

Is it because of their store location? Their inventory? Their customers? Or is it because of all these factors combined?

Creating retail success is no easy task. If there were a surefire recipe for this, every store would achieve wildly profitable accomplishments.

With countless years of research, ongoing analysis of retail operators, and an endless review of actual data that contributes to profitable retail stores, there are many factors that help merchants achieve success … or not. After all, it is your choice to change existing habits that may be contributing to a lack of accomplishments.

Explore these five habits to help your retail operations achieve stronger store performance.

Habit One: Understand Who Your Customers Are

Retailers often perceive their customers to be from one target audience of consumers, but in practicality, they are not. It is important to constantly evaluate who your customers are, who you want them to be, and how you can reach both audiences.

Using complex data, including point-of-sale and other tracking systems that help identify who your actual customers are, you can identify who is actually spending money at your store. You can also leverage Google Analytics, which is free, to identify who is spend­ing time on your website and where they are coming from online before clicking to your store.

Even if they simply explore store details without shopping online, this is still critical information to gain. Additionally, do not neglect the data generated from your social media and email marketing. This insight reveals if your efforts on these channels are being engaged with, which are the most effective, and where opportunity lies for you to enhance these experiences.

Collectively, these data destinations can provide clarity about who your customers are and should reveal opportunities to strengthen how you connect with them on each of these channels. The catch, of course, is making time to review the data and to then react.

Habit Two: Understand How Your Customers Shop

Data always adds value for retail operators and can reflect their efforts to create dynamic, profitable retail experiences. It can also help retailers better understand how consumers shop. However, data alone will not reveal all the answers.

Seek consumer insight by asking questions via social media, through in-store conversations, by offering quick surveys via email or your website, and using other data collecting methods that address the needs, wants, and actions of customers. Good old-fashioned observation goes a long way here as well.

Be organized by aggregating and categorizing your research. Then be proactive by analyzing this insight and identifying strate­gic ways to better support your customers.

Make it a priority to constantly evaluate consumer behavior so that, over time, you can understand the best ways to support your customers and store as they evolve.

Another tip? Ask your employees for insight into your cus­tomers, how to reach shoppers, and what could improve customer relationships. Multiple perspectives are always better than one.

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