A couple weeks ago, we onboarded several new members to our sales team. As a part of that process, our new team members spoke to existing clients to get a user’s perspective of our technology and services. During a call, we asked one client to describe how using Taiga has transformed their business. He responded: ”I could always understand what happened within my stores by reviewing my back-office reporting, but Taiga is where I go to answer the question why.”
Upon hearing his response, many of us realized that simple statement was one of the most concise and accurate descriptions of what our platform achieves that we had ever heard. A Front Office Platform, like Taiga, can help you understand “why” your business is changing. Many of today’s convenience retailers are currently in the challenging position of having the data to know what is happening but operating without the insights to answer the question “why”.
The Importance of Asking “Why”?
Take your pick, all the most prolific business writers talk about the wisdom of asking why at some point or another. From the classics like Covey, Carnegie, and Drucker all the way through to the modern era. If you have ever read a book by Malcom Gladwell, it’s a deep dive into asking “why” and the importance of using data to answer the question.
Whether your goal is to grow your revenue and margins, make your processes and staffing more efficient, or reorganize your operations, asking “why” is the key to identifying the areas where you can improve and setting up a strategy aligned with those goals. Without knowing “why” achieving these goals is far more challenging for Convenience Retailers.
You can’t get the answers you need
For the typical Convenience Retailer, it can be difficult to ask the question “why” because there are major technical and time intensive hurdles that must be traversed to get an answer. A Retailer may find the “what” in their monthly financial reports – that sales of non-alcoholic Packaged Beverages have declined by 10% month-over-month – but not know the “why”. But most times getting to the “why” currently requires a process something like this:
- Using SQL, a staff member has manually poll raw data from each store (takes at least an hour)
- Then a staff member must manually organize and clean the data (another hour or so)
- Next, the data will be sent to another department where they will manually analyze it in a spreadsheet with pivot tables etc. (this can take hours to days)
Finally, all this manual effort gets to an insight, but at this point you are at least a couple days (and a lot of times weeks) from when the question was asked. So, is the data still relevant? Even if the data is relevant, it is typically only a partial answer because the data set is incomplete. Did your team factor in any of the following that could have impacted the data?
- Changes to customer demographics or traffic?
- The impact of supplier price changes, new promotions, and loyalty?
- Are customers making substitutions, lifting other product sales?
- Is there a seasonal shift in demand or is the change a result of something else?
- Were there any inventory issues?
Since asking these kinds of questions and re-analyzing the data is so time consuming, Convenience Retailers operate on instinct rather than facts, most of the time. As a business leader, if “why” is the most important question that you should be asking, then you need to have the answers available at your fingertips.
Whether dealing with a labor shortage, a pandemic, or a post-pandemic recession, carefully tracking macroeconomic trends that may disrupt the Convenience Industry is not enough. Being able to ask “why” and immediately get the complete answer to explain the changes in your business is the most valuable exercise Convenience Retailers can perform.
A Front Office Platform can help you understand “why” your business is changing. Seeing the data from all your sources in real-time and at your fingertips can help you make business changing decisions quickly and easily. Click here to learn more about Taiga’s Front Office Platform and how our solutions enable Convenience Retailers to go from what to “why” and adjust their business to keep up with the changing marketplace.