Promotions have always had an important role to play in the retail industry. After all, it’s promotions that fill malls during the holiday season, and it’s promotions that bring 137 million shoppers to stores on Black Friday. But with the ever-growing wave of e-commerce continuing to sweep through the retail world, promotions may be more important now than ever before. It’s becoming more and more difficult to pry consumers away from the comfort of their homes and into stores, with foot traffic dropping sharply from 35 billion store visits in 2009 to 17 billion in 2013, according to a survey done by PWC.

Yet, even the laziest of shoppers can be enticed by a good deal or an interesting event. Considering their importance, being able to run successful promotions is crucial for brands looking to survive and thrive in the new retail landscape. But running successful promotions just isn’t possible without knowing how to properly track them.

The Importance of Promotion Tracking

From increasing sales to driving brand engagement and loyalty, promotions are useful to companies in a variety of ways. Yet despite all the benefits that they provide, they can be extremely costly if they aren’t executed properly. Whether you’re discounting your products or offering a gift with each purchase, promotions cost money. Such a significant investment simply isn’t worth it unless you’re getting a good ROI. This is why properly tracking and evaluating your promotions is key. Measuring the success of your promotions will help you ensure that the cost of running them is money well spent.

Being able to measure your success is great, but being able to capture that success and further utilize it is even better. Properly tracking promotions doesn’t just ensure that you’re making a profit from your efforts, it can also help shape future decisions and open up conversations with your buyers. In order to do this, you need to track your promotions in a more detailed and insightful way. This level of analysis requires deeper insights that can only be found in one place – your POS data.

Tracking Promotions Using POS Data

You’re probably familiar with the traditional way of tracking promotions –  looking at your sales numbers and calculating your ROI. If your ROI increased, then clearly the promotion was a success, right? Well, maybe not. The fact that your promotion made a profit doesn’t necessarily mean it performed as well as it possibly could have. The goal with promotions shouldn’t just be to make money, it should be to make as much money as possible (and drive trial of your product). In order to reach that level of efficiency, looking at your high-level sales simply isn’t going to cut it. That kind of analysis requires the detail and granularity provided by POS data. That being said, let’s take a look at a couple ways using your POS data can enhance your promotion tracking and lead to smarter investments:

Geographical Optimization

Let’s say you run a nationwide promotion on one of your products, and after the promotion ends, you see that there was an increase in your ROI due to the promotion. However, after using your POS data to dig a bit deeper, you notice a trend. Though the promotion performed extremely well in a few states, it actually performed extremely poorly in a couple of others.

Of course you didn’t notice this originally since your high-performing states offset the losses from the low-performing ones. But this point is that if you had avoided spending time and money on those low-performing states and focused on the high-performing ones, your promotion would have been even more successful than it was.

Geographical trends are very important to consider, and while breaking down your data into regions may seem like a daunting task, using retail analytic software makes it extremely simple and intuitive.

Seasonality

Seasonal trends are a huge part of retail, with the holiday season accounting for a significant portion of yearly sales for many vendors and retailers. But seasonality is relevant year-round, not just during big events. For The Home Depot, May to July are big months, with 28% of the retailer’s annual sales being logged in those 3 months. Seasonality can play a big role in running successful promotions, making it crucial for companies to understand what time of the year is best for running certain promotions.

This kind of insight can be difficult to notice, especially when the trends are very subtle. However, having a way to visualize your POS data can make it a lot easier. Taking a look at your historical data can show you whether your products consistently perform better during a certain time of year. Using this information, you can consider running promotions on those products during that time frame. If you’ve run promotions at different times in the past, you can compare the performance of those promotions to determine what time of the year is best for running certain promotions.

Taking Calculated Risks

The increasing domination of e-commerce means taking risks is more important now than ever. Running the same old promotions that consumers are already used to just isn’t enough to drive consumer engagement anymore. But taking risks blindly is never going to provide any benefit. This where data comes in. Data turns risks into calculated risks, allowing you to make informed decisions based on trends you see in your POS data from years past.

Perhaps you run a yearly discount on a line of products, but you notice that the promotion has performed poorly recently due to lower foot traffic in stores. You’re curious whether running large store events to increase traffic would be more or less profitable than continuing with your usual promotion. Using your POS data and some simple A/B Testing, it can be incredibly simple to determine the best option, and take a measured risk that leads to significant advantages. Being able to see past performance and trends in your data allows you to make these kinds of decisions while minimizing any negative risks.

Talking to Buyers

As previously mentioned, properly tracking your promotions doesn’t just help you measure your success – it also allows you to capture that success and utilize it further. One way you can do this is to use your successful promotions to open up conversations with your buyers.

For example, say you decide to run a promotion for your new product launch, and the event performs extremely well, surpassing your expectations. Based on these results, you conclude that there’s considerable excitement for the product. You can take these results to your buyer and make the argument for more future promotions, or even for increased shelf-space for your product.

When doing this, it’s important that you support your suggestions using your data. This will help to establish you as trustworthy and knowledgeable, making your buyer more likely to consider your suggestions in the future.

 

It’s harder than ever to make consumers care about and engage with brands, making running effective promotions crucial. Properly tracking your promotions can help you ensure that your investments are as efficient as possible, so long as you’re using your POS data to run a more detailed analysis. It’s only with that level of insight and knowledge that you’ll be able to utilize the success of your promotions for years to come.