Learn Where to Look and What to Do


It is an exciting time for businesses — particularly when it comes to retail. There is more clarity at every touchpoint of store owners’ operations than there has histor­ically been.

Gone are the days of wondering if someone visits your website or opens the emails you send. Even in physical environ­ments, clarity is achieved at heightened levels, thanks to modern point-of-sale systems and customer movement trackers that monitor foot traffic in a store — helping retailers better under­stand their hottest and weakest spots of how customers engage in their stores.

Keeping this in mind, there is no doubt clarity for retailers also comes with a complexity of technologies and an ever-evolving global commerce environment. Thankfully, this also comes with data, which is the golden ticket to all the various touchpoints technology offers.

The catch? Technology is only valuable if you leverage the data it offers. From social media and POS to email marketing and in-store experiences, this data allows retailers to be proactive to be more profitable in their future decision-making.

To help unravel the benefits of data for your unique business, consider the following ways data can be gained.

Social Media

As consumers increasingly turn to social media to help navigate their shopping decisions, it is critical for retailers to understand how customers use social media to help make purchase decisions. From identifying competitor retailers on social media — and more specifically, watching their engage­ment, followers, and growth of both — to reviewing the social media analysis that platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram offer, there is no shortage of data to review when it comes to social media.

Posting, sharing, commenting, and scrolling are simply the basics of social media. Reacting, reviewing, and responding to data generated is where social media really provides growth opportuni­ties for the savviest retail operators.

As you prepare your next steps in social media, also set aside time to review the data that comes with being engaged on social media. First, be sure you are set up as a business account, so this data is automatically generated for you.

Second, take time to review it. Only with this analysis can you proactively make changes based on what you find. Among the data points to consider analyzing are:

  • Most engaged posts and why. Do you think it was an image you shared? Was it a promotion you offered? Was it based on the time of day you posted it? Data will be revealed, but it will take you to figure out its rhyme and reason.
  • Least engaged posts and why. Just as some posts are success­ful, data reveals why others are not. If you can cross-compare multiple posts with similar lack-of-success stories based on data, this helps you react even better to improve future efforts.
  • Time Spent on Social Media. Have you ever wondered how long people engage on your pages? Data reveals this. Once you have this data, challenge yourself to improve it. Posts live forever, so be sure you create social media content consumers want to dive into.

Finally, when it comes to social media, do not overlook the value of monetizing your time and effort here. Data helps you understand which platforms are strongest, which need to be improved, and which posts you created resonate most with consumers.

Your Business URL

Social media leads many consumers to purchase destinations, so it is no surprise your branded URL website should be among the priorities you focus on when it comes to data. Among the data factors to consider is having a Google Analytics account set up.

It is free to do and offers data on where consumers are coming from before clicking on your website. This may include social media but also email blasts you send out, Google search engines, peer review sites like Yelp, and other directories.

Once consumers are on your site, make inventory selection easy to navigate. You can review how customers search a website on the backend of most of them.

Among the data points to review are key words customers enter into your URL search engine for product discovery. Shopify reports 81% of shoppers do online research before they make a purchase. This is why it is essential to position your business to attract and convert new customers by investing in a website search engine that easily identifies customer keywords and matches them to all available products.

Your website’s search engine should also allow customers to filter items by size, color, category, and brand when needed. Together, these efforts will be rewarded with strengthened data that reveals what your customers genuinely want — reinforcing that data helps retailers become more profitable, but only if they leverage it.

In-Store Foot Traffic

Technology no longer collects just swipes and scrolling data. It can now monitor customer engagement through heat-censored and body movement technologies. For physical retailers, this is a wonderful and vibrant addition to their data collection.

An example of this is Dor Technologies, the world’s first thermal-sensing and battery-operated people counter. It can help retailers understand in-store foot traffic, peak hours, conversion rates of hours opened versus sales made, and so much more. The data can support retail decision makers in their future marketing, staffing, and merchandising efforts — and more — truly helping retailers be more effective and profitable, thanks to — you guessed it — data.

Finally, as you aim to welcome data into your professional jour­ney, do so with enthusiasm. It is incredibly rewarding to see how data can support your business.

But the catch is taking the time to make it happen. Enjoy the process and along the way, you just may be surprised to see how valuable data is.

Nicole Leinbach is the founder of RetailMinded.com, a well-respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for its leading business insight since 2007. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, the UK’s Telegraph, CNN, the Today show, and countless other industry resources. Additionally, she has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as a spokesperson and is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business, published by McGraw-Hill. With a core concentration on small businesses and independent retailers, Leinbach welcomes you to connect via Instagram at @RetailMindedWorld and Twitter via @RetailMinded.