Taking advantage of the summer surge

A quote often attributed to Mark Twain goes: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

It’s an accurate reflection of the British obsession with the weather. In fact, according to a BBC report, nine in 10 Brits will have talked about the weather in the last six hours.

However, when the sun comes out and the temperature begins to rise, it’s becoming increasingly clear that people in the UK are doing something about it.

The latest stats from BRC-Springboard, reported by Retail Systems, found that footfall on the UK High Street rose 0.9% in June. This reversed the previous year’s 3.7% decline. Total footfall was up 0.8% up on a year ago and above the three-month average of 0.5%.

There’s a number of reasons why footfall gets a boost from fine weather. Firstly, shoppers are always spurred to renew their wardrobes and pick out those all-important seasonal items when things start heating up.

But the good weather also encourages shoppers to visit bricks and mortar locations rather than staying home (usually out of the rain) and shopping online. An interesting side note is that footfall is up in the hours after 5pm as shoppers look to combine retail and leisure trips.

So how can retailers capture this information and turn it in to valuable insight that can help them to boost their business?

Most retailers now collect an awful lot of data. Footfall, PoS information and staff performance are just a few of the data points that are captured. The good news is that no matter what data you collect or how much of it there is, there are simple analytics services available that can be launched without the need for a major IT project that can help you understand your business better.

In my previous blog I talked about Data Paralysis. This is when the sheer amount of data you collect means that reviewing reports is so time consuming that there is no time left to act on the facts you find.

But it’s also important to realise that you simply don’t know what you don’t know. What I mean by that is that a crucial piece of data could be hiding in a spreadsheet, but if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, then you will likely miss it – along with the benefits it may bring.

The best way to find these kind of helpful insights is by visualising the data. This helps decision makers easily identify opportunities to improve and make quick decisions. So, when the weather is good that may mean moving sunglasses and shorts closer to the entrance to draw shoppers in. Perhaps a staff member has been successful in upselling sun tan lotion at the checkouts, so you can encourage others to do the same.

It’s often the smaller things that make a difference. But when you are able to see a great number of ways to improve, those small things can combine into a big boost, which can be absolutely vital if you want to capitalise on the increase in footfall at this time of year.

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