Real Data, Real Dollars


Data analytics. Sounds scary (or boring), right? Spotting trends isn’t as tricky as you might think and you’re probably already using insights from the numbers you look at every day.

The digital age is here. Everything can be tracked – and if you don’t track it, you should. Your customers are telling you what they want to buy, when they want to buy it, and how much they’ll spend. There is a plethora of powerful marketing and operation intelligence available – if you’re willing to look closer at the information you already have.

Maybe you’re not a self-proclaimed data scientist. Consider this: I bet you know the most popular parts in your shop, most frequently requested service, and what the most likely culprit is for a click, pop, or clunk. You probably know what days you’re going to need the most techs on hand or how much oil you go through in a month. All of this is good – and it’s data analytics.

“So what?”, you ask. You know how to stock your shop and keep it staffed. Why waste time on looking for trends? People forget. Sometimes I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday or if this shirt is clean.

Getting started can seem tricky, so begin with what you know. For most people, that’s sales data. It’s easily available via transactional records and is usually very uniform. It will likely have a date, product or service, customer information, and maybe something about the vehicle. Best of all? You probably have a lot of it.

Sales information is a powerful dataset. You can use it to identify the busiest times and quantify those results with a part or service. If you can expect when to sell the most of a product or service, you can be smart about what you stock and how you schedule. Hypothetical efficiencies here can lead to real dollars for your business.

This is just a tip of the iceberg example. The same data can be used to identify your target customer or vehicle owner. If you know who your best customers are, you are better suited to attract more people that are looking for your business.

Although many tools are available for digging deeper into your data, here are a couple that will get you on track to looking at your business in a whole new light:

  • Excel is still one of the most powerful and accessible programs around. I highly recommend starting here since you likely already have this program installed in your office. Pivot tables are a great place to start manipulating data with live feedback.
  • Trifacta has a free data wrangling tool that is a little more technical, but rewards those who are willing to learn with some of the most interactive and insightful looks at complicated datasets.

Listen to your data. It’s your customers and they’re writing your business plan for you. The data is available at your fingertips and I’d argue that is is your most valuable and least utilized asset.

photo credit: © selensergen –

AVA_RU_TVierling_WhiteIn his very first Reman U article, the King of Cataloging shares some pretty nimble ways to turn what you have into new insights for a better business. How do you make your data work for you? Comment below or share with Tom directly!