retail analysis and benchmarking

Retail in many ways is the most perplexing of industries as whilst it is built on quantifiable parameters and defined quantities its performance and success quite often seems unrelated to the logic of numbers.

This is, of course, because retail success has become much more reliant on the emotional reaction of the customer to the product assortment than simply satisfying the numerical scale of their apparent requirements.

That being said there is much to be gained for any retailer from a deep and precise understanding of customer buying patterns, and the analysis of traditional sales performance KPIs by department, category, range and individual product family and SKUs.

Much of the unpredictability of the future can be tempered through a thorough understanding of the past.



Sales volumes, average transaction values, basket values and margins can tell us much, traffic and conversion rates even more, and rates of sales, weeks covers, sell-out rates and sales densities can tell us even more about best seller products and trends and general sales productivity. Knowledge and insight of these KPIs is essential to best practice retail.

This data tells us what is happening in our stores, however it is arguable that of even more potential value is to know what is not happening in our stores – why are customers not buying and adding to our sales data and our knowledge.

Both online and now in store technology allows us to monitor the customer journey in detail telling us where things went well and when customers abandoned us as retailers.
We are filling the dark void of knowledge between a customer entering our store and making a purchase.

Video analytics in stores can monitor a whole range of activities and allow us to benchmark poor and best practice in completely new KPIs. Attraction – the measurement of how much traffic is attracted to a display, engagement – the % of traffic that stays to dwell by a display and for how long, touch – the % of customers who touched a product and for how long, and critically conversion – the % of people who bought who had been attracted, engaged and who had touched. At last the retailer can see where the weak links are in delivering the customer journey.



And whilst customer behaviour analytics can be used as “Big Data” just like most POS data to identify trends and anomalies it can also be used for immediate benefits to trial, test and measure initiatives in store to make better the conversion KPIs of our store experience and customer journey.

The perfect scenario for best practice retail is the availability and effective analysis of data telling us of retail spend KPIs and now retail behaviour KPIs that can be acted on in the short, medium and long terms.


In addition to this internal analysis there is also much to be learnt from external benchmarking. If the best retailers in our market are doing one thing and we are doing it differently then we should look again at our own strategies and delivery.

Benchmarking best practice stores can tell us anything from assortment structures, product story balance, category balance, colour, price and size architectures, display densities for walls and floors, square metre conversion to linear metre, fixture types, frequency of busts and mannequins, POS and graphics, dynamics of change, store layout and a myriad of other things. Benchmarking is essential to be in-line with best practice and to stay in-line with best practice.

Benchmarking can also tell us about factors affecting our own performance. To create the link between different deliveries in our stores and similar patterns in performance is a golden viewpoint as to what is working in our stores and what is not. In this way tests and trials can be carried out, not blindly, but with full awareness and benchmarking against out relevant performance KIPs.

Ultimately, of course, only data which is analysed and understood will be of potential value, and only insights which are acted upon will deliver increase sales performance and money in the bank, however benchmarking and analytics are that essential first step to collecting and assessing those all-important KPIs.

Analyse as a retailer and you will see retail and not numbers.
Act as a retailer and you will see sales increases and not changes.



Our expert workshops:
Internal retail analysis & external benchmarking workshops:

VM-Unleashed’s 1-day workshop discusses all areas in the delivery of attractive & profitable stores through best practice retail analysis and external benchmarking and the integration of analysis with and between retail functions.

It is personalised to the audience, to the sector and to the job function and objectives of the retailer team present, however most benefit is achieved from an attendance from across retail departments and essentially buying & merchandising, visual merchandising, marketing, space planning, commercial, sales and store operations teams.

The workshop process can also include a day of client store visits and discussions leading to a review in the workshop of the client’s stores, as well as reviews and reference to competitors and current international best practice stores. The workshop itself is a combination of visual stimulation and process insights.

Every workshop is written and delivered to be as relevant and productive for each client as possible including both individual and team exercises and discussions.

The typical agenda is as below, waiting your personal additions and requirements:

    • Sales data KPI analysis
    • Dynamic sales performance analysis – rates of sales
    • Display density sales analysis – £/sqft €/sqm
    • Customer behaviour analysis
    • Video analytics, beacons and mobile analysis
    • Assortment benchmarking
      • Colour, size & price architectures
      • Fashion position/end use performance
      • Product benefit/attribute architectures
      • Product added-value analytics
      • Assortment category structure
      • Assortment dynamics
      • Omni-channel assortment structures
      • International store grade architectures
    • New benchmarking and store analytics
      • Space planning & visual merchandising audits
      • Store proposition & customer perception audits
      • Store performance audits & analysis
      • Store dynamics audits & analysis
      • Customer experience, journeys & touchpoints audits & analysis
      • “Undercover expert!”
      • “Undercover expert-ease!”
      • Customer behaviour video analytics
      • Category performance optimisation analytics
      • Queue performance analytics
      • Staff scheduling and activity analytics
      • Sales promotional, events and retail calendar analytics
      • VM toolkit/performance benchmarking

Different modules can be combined to create personalised workshops.

For more information:
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
“Undercover Expert” – store delivery audits

“How do I monitor the ongoing standards, compliance and consistency of my store customer experience and touchpoints?”


    • Ongoing undercover analysis of the standards of implementation and maintenance of store touchpoints across a selected portfolio of stores
    • preceded by initial store touchpoint audit
    • required standards set and benchmarked against store visits
    • traffic light analysis of attainment by store(s)
    • traffic light analysis for specific touchpoints across all selected stores
    • specific analysis of seasonal events, promotions and store dynamics
    • monitoring of touchpoint delivery related to KPI performance


    • Identify weaknesses in the ongoing delivery of important touchpoints, leading to improvements in ease of delivery
    • Identify specific stores where delivery and maintenance is a concern
    • Relate poor implementation to poor KPI performance of specific categories/promotions
    • Identify and reward stores for best practice delivery
    • Identify and grade touchpoint mechanics by ease of implementation/maintenance against importance
    • Identify recommended mechanics for future use
    • Collection and creation of “dos & don’ts” document for distribution to stores


    • Interviews with relevant store stakeholders to agree and set standards
    • Setting of KPI targets for sales directly related to touchpoints
    • Visits to selected stores on an ongoing monthly, seasonal basis
    • Visits linked to specific important seasonal periods
    • Checklist assessment and take images of good/poor practice
    • Traffic light stores and important touchpoints
    • Creation of the “dos & don’ts” document

For more information click the link
“Undercover- expert!”
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
“Undercover Expert-ease” – ongoing competitor benchmarking

“How do I continue to assess & monitor my customer experience against market trends, competitors and best practice?”


    • Periodic analysis and comparison of client touchpoints against a selected number of market competitors
    • agreed number of touchpoints consistent across client & competitor stores
    • traffic light comparison levels of maintenance across competitors and client stores
    • comparison of seasonal event delivery common to all
    • comparison of use of different store elements and touchpoints
    • comparison of touchpoint seasonal trends/product categories across client/competitors
    • prioritising and score competitor innovations against relevance to client brand – “Innovation Indexing!”


    • Identify and compare the ongoing quality of store delivery in direct comparison to the quality of store delivery of competitors
    • Identify the comparative level of delivery of common events & touchpoints
    • Identify differences in seasonal focus between client and competitors – weaknesses and future opportunities
    • Identify new store delivery elements and touchpoints
    • Identify the most relevant innovation to the client brand


    • Visits to selected client & competitor stores on an ongoing monthly, seasonal basis
    • Visits linked to specific important seasonal periods
    • Checklist findings and take images of good/poor practice in client and competitor stores
    • Traffic light stores/competitors and important touchpoints
    • Creation of the “new touchpoints” competitor analysis documents

For more information click the link
“Undercover Expert-ease!”
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
Queue Performance Analytics

“How do I improve the efficiency and experience of my store queuing systems whilst increasing incremental impulse sales?”


The use of video analytics combined with traditional POS data to monitor customer behaviour and impulse purchasing during queuing

    • analysis of queuing patterns and queuing hot spots
    • analysis of relationships between queuing times, serving times, queue abandonment and sales per transaction
    • analysis of incremental sales linked to queuing time, serving time and impulse product location and display
    • analysis of queuing behaviour by time of day, day of week


    • identify the best queue management strategy for location of queues, type of impulse merchandisers, categories of impulse product and placement of impulse merchandisers
    • Identify the “sweet spot” to generate the maximum impulse purchases , from minimum queue abandonments and optimum waiting time
    • Identify the best management of service time related to loyalty communication and impulse sales, dependent on queue length, waiting time and items per basket


    • Interviews with HQ and store personnel to understand the queuing issues
    • Interviews with buying & merchandising teams to understand impulse assortment commercial issues
    • Interviews with marketing & store ops to understand the loyalty service process
    • Visits to pilot stores and planning of video camera locations
    • Study of activity patterns and sales patterns through till systems
    • Analysis of the relationship between all queuing KPIs and incremental sales

For more information click the link
Queue performance analytics
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
Staff Scheduling & Activity Analytics

“How can I know how to improve my staff planning and scheduling, their store location, movement patterns and activities to maximise customer experience, service, interaction and assisted sales?”


The use of video analytics combined with traditional traffic & POS data to understand traffic patterns by store, departments, aisles areas to allow optimised scheduling and activities of sales assistants based on customer behaviour and activity patterns and trends

  • analysis of staff number ratios to customer traffic patterns
    • analysis of staff numbers related to conversion by store area
    • analysis of staff numbers related to activity, dwell, stops and sales by store area
    • analysis of staff number and activities related to sales by area
    • analysis of service and re-stocking patterns
    • analysis of customer behaviour trends by hour, day, weekend/weekday and seasonally


    • Identify staff scheduling opportunities related to store traffic/activity patterns by hour, day and week
    • Cluster stores for staff scheduling by similar traffic/activity patterns
    • Identify correct resourcing of product department/ category related to sales and conversion potential
    • Identify optimum activities and engagement of staff with customers by department & category over time periods
    • Identify the best scheduling of service, visual merchandising operations and replenishment tasks related to traffic patterns


    • Interviews with HQ and store personnel to understand staff scheduling
    • Interviews with store personnel to understand customer activity patterns & behaviour
    • Review of existing market research and data to understand customer missions and journeys
    • Understand seasonal and promotional patterns
    • Visits to pilot stores and planning of video camera locations
    • Monitor and analyse store behaviour KPI patterns – activity, dwell, stop
    • Analysis of POS sales data across stores linked to the new customer behaviour KPIs
    • Recommendations on best staff management for efficiency & sales

For more information click the link
Staff scheduling and activity analytics
+44 (0)7967 609849


Whether you are an established player, or a new kid on the retail block, we can probably help improve your efficiency, your expertise, your store delivery and of course your sales performance and profitability.

I look forward to hearing your questions, whether large or small.

Always expert and easily accessible.

Thank you.
+44 (0)7967 609849

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