When your reminders are pinging, your inbox is rapidly filling up and your phone is harassing you, it’s almost impossible to know what to concentrate on. One of the art forms of modern life is trying to manage all the information that’s flooding into your world simultaneously – when to pay attention, when to defer, when to let it go.

That’s not only the case for individual Kiwis, it’s also being experienced by our businesses. Switching to cloud-based services means there’s more information than ever bombarding employees and decision-makers. Even the most basic sales data can now be sliced, diced and analysed in a million different ways. With so much data at our fingertips, it’s often about asking the right questions and presenting data in the right way.

It’s also tough to find the hours to figure out the right questions and the right data. When everyone’s busy filling orders and serving customers, it’s tough to find the energy to do comprehensive data analysis on customer behaviour.

Why data analytics matters

We know that data analytics is highly effective at finding consumer patterns, making predictions and providing the basis for new products and directions. It can help your business by:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity. The right data helps your company focus on the most profitable products, services and markets. It lets your team spend more time on what will drive the best results, leading to better productivity – which drives a higher standard of living for all New Zealanders.
  • Giving you the edge on your competition. When one business understands its market intimately, that business will have an advantage over a less well-informed competitor. The business with the right data can improve customer retention, offer what customers want and forecasts trends with greater accuracy.
  • Improving your pricing. Pricing doesn’t need to be a dark art. Data analytics mean you can see the impact of price changes almost instantly, allowing you to tailor your pricing for each item or service precisely to what the market thinks it’s worth. That leads to more sales and allows you to find that profit sweet spot.
  • Focusing on local markets. If your business operates several stores, data can show you exactly which products sell into which market. The differences can reveal local preferences that your business can cater to, giving you an edge in a local market that your competitors don’t have.
  • Boosting profitability online. Data analysis is particularly valuable in eCommerce; research shows that companies who adopt it experience productivity gains of 5% to 6% compared to their competitors.

Start with the data you already have

How can you make the most of data analytics? The first step is to make the most of the data that’s already at your fingertips. If your business uses a cloud-based accounting system, chances are you’re not exploiting its full capacity to deliver information. Talk to your accountant and find out how to upskill your team to take advantage of all the data that’s contained in your existing system.

Start with a tool that is easy to use and understand, so you can track the key metrics in your business: like sales, revenue and customer loyalty. Paymark Insights makes it easy for business owners to stay on top of their business with simple analytics anyone can use; easy-to-read graphs and data charts that demonstrate how your business is performing in real-time across several stores.

Another area where you can analyse your existing data more closely is your customer database. Analyse what you know about your regular shoppers’ demographics and consider how you can tweak your marketing or offers to target the right market for your brand.

The possibilities are almost endless, so even when you’re inundated with information, don’t just block your ears and put a pillow over your head. It can be overwhelming, but if you can make your data work harder for your business, the results could be outstanding.