Identifying what is driving your customers into your store is a great way to assess what marketing activities are working for you.
The best way to evaluate this is to ask your customers how they heard about your store. If you have a POS system that has an area to store customer information, you should be able to store a code right in there. It is often called a source code. If you don’t have a place to store this in your system, simply use a notebook to capture the information and then transfer it into a program like Microsoft Excel so you can keep track of it easily.
Whether you track the information on paper or in a computer, the most important part to this whole exercise is to make sure your staff is asking each and every customer during the check-out process, “How did you hear about us?”
It is essential that you are getting steady data. One idea is to run an internal contest among your staff to see who has the best percentage of recording source codes and award the winner with a coffee gift card each month. If you have a POS system, this type of contest could be easily tracked based on check-outs by store employee.
To get this exercise started, you will want to develop a list of all of the marketing activities that you participate in and attach a code to each of them. For example, a postcard mailing that you participated in with a certain publication could be coded PC1, and another postcard mailing that you participated in with another advertiser could be PC2.
Be sure to have a code for each specific campaign and also add codes for a walk-in customer, repeat customer, and word of mouth. Be sure to also give a good description of each source code so you can remember what the specific marketing activity was.
Once you have a good base of information, typically about a month’s worth, you can begin to do some analysis as well as rank which methods or sources drive the most and fewest customers to your store.
Typically, repeat customers will be at the top of your list, and tracking this number month-to-month allows you to see if you are losing repeat customers.
Now compare all of the other source codes. Be sure to pinpoint any that have zero sources. What do these activities cost you? If there is no cost, then you may decide to keep them. However if you are not seeing any results and there is a cost, you will want to reassess and decide if these are the right activities.
For those activities that seem to be driving in the most customers, you will also want to calculate how much these activities cost you. Just because they have the highest activity, does not mean they are the right long-term plan for your store.
As you dive into the various data that this information will provide, you will be able to make better decisions on what should be included in your store’s marketing plan.
If you have any suggestions or requests for marketing topics, please email me. I look forward to writing on topics that you most want to hear about.