The Power of Retail Data

Data is boring, no one got ever got into retail to look at spreadsheets or examine data. That kind of thing is reserved for the IT crowd.

If you’re a retailer then, like me, you probably got into retail because you like people and the simplicity of the over the counter transaction. For me the closer retail gets to being like a market stall the more I enjoy it, close up selling with negotiation and banter is great and there’s no better feeling than shaking hands with the customer and watching them leave your store happy that they have gave you their money.

I also love the creativity of making the store look great, display and merchandising, choosing great stock and getting your team excited are all things I absolutely love. What I don’t get excited about is data so pretty early on I tried to find a way to make sure that the data was exciting and that it was exactly the kind of data that I wanted to look at - and nothing else!

As a retailer I found Vend and it’s exactly why three years later I became a reseller for Vend. Vend is a cloud based point of sale system that feels more like a computer game that it does a till. As a retailer it gives you back way more than you put in, of course (like any good EPOS system) you can see what sells and what doesn’t, manage your stock and generate stock and sales reports but if you want to go a step further it can really help with big decisions. You’ll need to do a little more work than just key in product codes and stock variants but not much more. Here’s a few things that I really love about it as a non data muncher:

Loyalty loving
Vend’s Loyalty card function was a no brainer from day one, it gives your customers something back on every purchase which is a great way to say thanks - and you can do this to varying degrees. It also allows you to mine some very simple bits of information that give you something back, obviously an email address is handy for mail outs but what about their postcode? We have heard of users literally moving their store because they realised the majority of their best customers lived in a certain postcode, this move lowered their rent costs and doubled their turnover. More importantly after 6 months you can run a report and see who spent what, who your best customer is and maybe take them out for lunch.

If there’s one thing worse than data then it’s data entry. Vend is cloud based so if you’re in a position to move things forward then there’s lots of clever integration that you can use thanks to something called API keys. We can plug a website into your Vend system to unify your stock control, we can plug your accounts system into Vend to allow you to send register closures direct to your accounts each day and we can even plug in appointment systems to allow you to take bookings and then pipe the charges straight into Vend.

It’s all in the cloud!
Perhaps overlooked on a day to day basis but when you’re on your holidays and you really just want to see whether the ship is still afloat you can check into your store from any laptop or iPad. You can look at your daily averages, review sales history or look at sales team performance in the blink of an eye. It quickly gives you assurance on cashflow and income and if you are trying to relax then a mind at ease is a great thing.

Thanks for reading my feature, I’ll be back next week with another instalment looking at staff management and how you can streamline your team and how they work. If you're interested in Vend then drop me a mail at and I can set you up with a demo and run you through a few key features with a free 30minute demo. 

Steve Toze is the owner of Shift Retail, retail consultancy and a few other businesses in the retail and design sectors.