Machine learning aids small business management

Machine learning technology can accurately predict daily sales volumes, helping business owners manage staffing and inventory.

Allison Henderson, the owner of a Cold Stone Creamery location in Lakewood, Colorado, recently opened her second franchise, a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Henderson credits the success of her two stores to the implementation of Sales Temperature, a tool that gives businesses a dashboard of their daily revenue, customer count and staffing needs in one software application. The tool frees up time for Henderson that she previously spent managing the staffing and operations of her two retail shops, giving her more opportunity to focus on other business responsibilities.

“Using Sales Temperature has allowed us to more effectively staff our shop so that we are ready for the big spikes, and we can conserve costs when business is slow,” said Henderson. “Even after 20 years of owning our business, I spent hours every month trying to determine our staffing and inventory needs based on what happened last month or last year, and now I have a much more accurate forecast at my fingertips every morning. Sales Temperature has saved me time and money and I’m continually impressed by how easy and accurate it is.”

The machine learning technology aims to help small businesses with sales forecasting through accurate data. By using machine learning to incorporate historical data and integrate other factors such as day of the week, weather and holidays, Sales Temperature’s tool is 30% more effective at revenue and customer forecasting. 

The mobile software application predicts needs up to 14 days in advance for customers in the clothing and quick-service arenas. More than 100 businesses are already using the tool, which is particularly popular with franchise owners. 

All information is automatically updated, and Henderson receives a daily forecasting email from Sales Temperature that anticipates how much product she will need in order to plan for inventory. By effectively predicting sales volume for the day, the program allows Henderson to better staff her stores. 

"It shocks me how accurate the data is versus what we actually do. Intuitively I know that if it's a snowy day, I'll need less labor, but Sales Temperature provides me with an exact number," Henderson said. "It really helps with those in-between days."