Shifting Gears to a Data-Driven Mentality

How c-stores can up their marketing game

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In the current retail landscape, everything is moving rapidly. Consumers have an insatiable appetite for information, and they are actively shaping (and then re-shaping) the brand messaging of the products they purchase. They also have more options and are receiving more targeted messages than ever, so their loyalty is easily swayed. Retailers who rely on the once-trusted, go-with-your-gut approach to day-to-day operations are in danger of falling behind those who utilize real-time insights and data to build on measurable standards of success.

Like it or not, data is on everyone’s minds these days. It comes in many forms and from many sources, including customer ratings, reviews, surveys, business and location intelligence software, third party research, POS data and more. For retailers who haven’t identified a clear objective, data can be a daunting four-letter word, and it is easy to be overwhelmed when looking for answers before determining your most pressing questions.

Many fuel and convenience store brands have a lot of room to grow when it comes to using data and analytics to make smart, informed decisions. It is critical for those who want to build their analytical muscle, gain an edge over their competitors, enhance the customer experience and grow their market share. But which departments need access to shift the company into a data-driven mentality? The answer: all of them.

Creating an all-encompassing data-driven culture is to create an environment where everyone from the top down has access to data relevant and necessary to their work, and where everyone is encouraged and empowered to use that data to gain insight and make decisions.

Forward-thinking fuel retailers can use data in many ways to create value across the business. Location-based and demographic information helps marketers better understand who is visiting their stores, allowing them to evaluate the brand affinities, habits and attitudes of growing segments such as millennials—and then target them effectively. Operations teams who oversee multiple stores may be able to quickly correlate a plunge in foot traffic or sales to customer reviews pointing out broken fuel pumps. Negative reviews can turn into positives—customer service teams can triage and respond to complaints, and forward actionable feedback to individual station or store managers so they can remedy problems.

As your organization continues to shift toward one driven by analytics, ensure data is a central element in everything you do; not just in fixing problems, but in planning for the future. The practice of gathering and using data is growing because it is measurable and it works. It’s up to everyone to back up the road ahead with numbers and insights.