Better POS data a must for retailers, vendors

cash register
POS data is important to the future of successful retailer and vendor relationships.

Retailers are looking for more usable insights from data collected at point of sale. According to a 2018 POS Data Study by Askuity, 92% of retailers feel that better POS data could help them improve promotional effectiveness, reduce out of stocks and better forecast sales. 

It seems the lack of knowledge is also getting in the way of vendor relationships, as 57% of respondents said they could be doing more to strengthen their buyer relationships using POS data. 

And the information could be beneficial to the retailer on the individual store level. Of the brands surveyed, 81% said their field sales teams would benefit from having POS on their mobile devices yet only 53% were currently providing this level of insight. 

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And most retailers know that it's time for a technology upgrade, as 63% of brands said they want to move away from traditional applications such as Excel to new technology to improve POS reporting. 

“With retail rapidly being reinvented by technology, brands and retailers need each other more than ever. This study confirms that leading consumer product companies are looking to integrate point-of-sale data into all aspects of their operations in order to adapt and grow their business,” said Eric Green, CEO of Askuity.  “We believe that brands who harness the power of retail data successfully will be the winners with both consumers and retailers in the new world of retail.”

So what can brands do to start improving their POS data collections?

"At the highest level, retailers must focus on making sure data is easily accessible by their vendor partners," said a spokesperson from Askuity. 

Askuity says that retailers can improve the uptake of data at the vendor level in a few key ways, including sharing data free of charge, providing a user-friendly portal for vendors to easily download the data or including metrics that help vendors to manage their business (e.g. sales per store per week). And at a more granular level, retail buying teams need to be very explicit in setting expectations among their vendor partners. 

"In order to improve alignment between retailers and vendors, we suggest that buyers set clear KPIs and goals with vendors and review progress against these goals on a regular basis," the spokesperson said. 

RELATED: Mobile POS boosted sales 24% for retailers in 2017

Of course, like any other technology, an overhaul of how retailers collect data is costly and resources are limited. That is why Askuity stresses the importance of vendors assisting their retailers in bringing data-backed recommendations to buyers to help them improve sales. 

However, Askuity notes that vendors cannot be of help in managing a business if they don't have the data to do so.  

"Ultimately, those retailers looking to improve retailer-vendor collaboration must start with first principles and ensure that POS data is easily accessible by all vendors," the spokesperson said. 

Based on the results from two years of POS data studies, Askuity offered these three themes for retailers to keep in mind when planning for the future: 

1. Improved data accessibility. As e-commerce continues to grow, it will put pressure on buying teams and inventory planners, meaning that vendors will be given greater responsibility in the form of managing inventory and contributing to the sales planning process. Retailers will be able to put this responsibility on vendors by democratizing their POS data.

2. Data-enabled sales teams. Askuity's research shows that companies are most likely to report that they are ahead of the competition when POS reporting and analytics is owned by the sales department. Based on these findings, they predict that brands will shift POS reporting and analytics from being run by the analytics department to being championed by the sales department.

3. Better tools and technology. Askuity found that a majority of brands are moving away from generic tools, such as Microsoft Excel, to manage their reporting and analytics needs. And that enablement technology will be a focus for those brands looking to succeed in the digital age.