The Numbers Don’t Lie
Are you looking at the numbers? Your business generates them everyday—not only financial ones, but others that can help you improve your business’ performance. The numbers can give you guidance on what you’re doing well and where you need to change.
Here are some examples of particularly helpful numbers:
Front-door traffic counters. If 50 customers walk through your doors every week, how many actually buy something—what’s your closing rate?
Years ago, when the electronics business was almost all cash-and-carry, it was easy to measure and analyze your closing rate. Now, especially at the C-tail level, low closing rates are instructive in alerting you that customers are leaving without buying.
Clearly, those customers were not given enough reasons to buy. Did they find the store disorganized, the prices too high, the sales personnel inattentive, the store too crowded, the displays sounding bad or looking substandard, the products too intimidating?
If they didn’t buy, there was a reason. After all, your ad, a referral or a previous positive buying experience got them into your store. Your traffic counter can tell you how many of them came through the door, so why did so many of them leave empty-handed?
There’s great comparative value in traffic counters as well. Comparing last week’s numbers with the same period of time last year shows trends and the effectiveness of your promotions and advertising.
Web hits. It’s not just your front door anymore that’s the consumer’s entry point to your business. You should keep track of all forms of contact with your business. With the internet, customers can be 24-hour shoppers and information seekers, so your business should be accessible 24 hours a day, too.
Keep track of your web “hits,” your phone calls, your e-mails. If you ran a brand message in a newspaper or magazine, how many customers called, visited your store or contacted you via e-mail?