How To Leverage Data As A Young, Scrappy Brand

Guest Post: The WeStock Team

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The largest, most successful brands all use data to make better decisions. As a small brand, you may think data is a luxury. We couldn’t disagree more. Knowing which products are selling best and where, helps guide your production, which helps guide your sourcing, which helps maximize cash and minimize costs. So, if you’re just starting out, creating a good process for collecting, synthesizing, and acting on data is critical. 

If you’re selling online via your own site, Amazon, and also into UNFI, that’s three sources right there. Point being...

You’re likely capturing more data than you think.

In this article, we’ll outline the data landscape, provide some key performance indicators you can derive, and some ways to act on those indicators. 

cpg data options explained

What Does This Data Tell Me? 

As a small brand, syndicated data is probably out of the cards, given it’s price. Let’s further explore the example laid out above. 

You’re active on social media and sell on your own website, Amazon, and Whole Foods via UNFI.  Below are just some of the key performance indicators you can derive, many for little to no investment.  

Retailer Direct Store Data

From the Whole Foods Portal, you could arrive at: 

  • Units sold per store per week - # of units sold / # of stores / # of weeks 
  • Sales growth over 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365 days - # of units sold in current period - # of units sold in previous period / # of units sold in previous period
  • Retailer ROI - $ amount of sales / $ amount spent on marketing/promotions

Ecommerce Data

From your ecommerce page + Amazon Seller central, you could arrive at: 

  • Cost of sale  - $ spent on marketing / total $ amount of orders
  • Customer review to order ratio - # of reviews on a product / # of orders for that product
  • Conversion - traffic to store / number of orders
  • Average order value - # of orders / total $ amount of orders
  • Cart abandon rate - # of orders abandoned / total # number of orders
  • Return rate - # of orders returned / # of orders
  • Return on advertising spend (ROAS) - $ amount of sales / $ amount spent on marketing
  • Demographic information - zip code, sex etc.

Distributor Data

From UNFI’s SCCV portal, you could arrive at: 

  • Cases sold per DC per week - # of cases sold / # of DCs / # of weeks 
  • Sales growth over 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365 days - # of units sold in current period - # of units sold in previous period / # of units sold in previous period
  • Weeks of inventory on hand - sales over last 7 days / number of units in inventory

Marketing/Demand Data

  • Social media engagement rates - views, likes, comments, shares etc. 
  • Email engagement rates - opens, clicks, purchases etc. 
  • Product requests via WeStock - # of requests by banner, store, region etc. 

That’s more data than I thought. What should I do with it? 

With your retailer + distributor data, you should... 

  • Make sure you’ve got adequate stock levels and are properly managing your distributor. Strong steady sales followed by a rapid decrease means your product was likely out-of-stock. That could either be an operational problem (you didn’t produce enough) or a distributor problem (they didn’t order enough). On the other side of the coin, distributors can overorder during promotional periods (“bridge buying”) and then chargeback for whatever doesn’t sell. If you know what you normally sell, you can push back/prevent this sort of thing.
  • Observe how your sales are moving overtime. If you’ve got strong sales growth from current SKUs, that can be leveraged for additional placements. 
  • Measure lift from in-store promotions to see where your return on investment is best and double down. 

With your online + demand  data you could…

  • Provide answers to questions and directly address consumer feedback, in a more scalable way, to cut down on support. 
  • Use customer comments/requests to inform R&D on new products. 
  • Use demographic information to build more accurate customer personas. This will likely ensure higher ROAS on marketing to current and prospective customers. 
  • Serve up customized “win-back offers”  to regular customers when they haven’t shopped in a while, based on their on past orders choices. 
  • Leverage sales information from your site and product requests from WeStock to identify pockets of demand and turn your followers into retail customers.

Key Takeaway

You don't need a lot of data to get a lot of value. As a young brand, it's critical to be thoughtful about the data that's at your disposal and ensure that it's guiding your company strategy/decision-making process.

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