Big Lots Successfully Integrates Multiple Data Sets

by Bill McCarthy on 02-14-18

Successful data stream integration yields win for Big Lots in Retail TouchPoints Store Operations Superstar Award

In today’s world, retail operations departments are more expansive and all-encompassing than ever before. As retail operations departments evolve, employees are, year after year, faced with new-found challenges, ranging from: implementing new technological solutions that long-standing issues, managing matters pertaining to scale, and leveraging data to transform every aspect of the shopping experience.

At ShopperTrak, we’ve spent years helping retailers around the globe adapt to an ever-changing, tech-driven retail landscape, which means we have an intimate understanding of how challenging the adoption of new technologies, systems, and processes can be. Yet, we also understand that, when a retailer successfully takes large steps toward modernization, the organizational transformation can be astounding.

The prize: Store Operations Superstar Award

Today, we’re honored to announce that Big Lots, a unique, non-traditional discount retailer, has been recognized at the gold level by Retail TouchPoints for standing as an example of how to effectively leverage business intelligence solutions in order to make data-backed decisions that drive business success, earning the company the Store Operations Superstar Award. Big Lots’ BI adoption serves a remarkable example to other retailers of how to aggregate and act on the insights found in large swaths of data.

During this past year, Big Lots made a conscious decision to engrain the importance of data within their organization. And in doing so, executives all the way down to store managers receive daily reports that feature traffic, sales and additional data. To further these efforts, Big Lots worked with ShopperTrak’s Retail Consulting Practice to benchmark performance and create customized scorecards that set store-level goals that are unique for individual locations.

With more than 1,420 stores in 47 states, Big Lots’ scorecards enable managers to not only track results, but empower them to adapt their strategies based on data. The results include happier store-level employees who are both results-driven and well equipped to improve store performance. The results of the partnership have earned Big Lots the 2017 gold-level ranking in the category of Customer Engagement in Retail TouchPoints‘ 6th annual Store Operations Superstar Awards, which “recognizes companies that have implemented the most innovative, successful store operations strategies in six categories. The winners run the gamut from Tier 1 department stores to specialty retail businesses.”

How it happened

Big Lots maintains a nearly consistent conversion rate and average transaction size across stores. However, sales-per-shopper — i.e., conversion multiplied by ATS —  represents a significant opportunity for any brick-and-mortar retailer, so Big Lots took on the challenge of increasing this essential KPI. In order to influence their sales-per-shopper metric, Big Lots chose to integrate their traffic, sales and additional data sets into ShopperTrak’s analytics platform.

By combining their various data sets into a single, customizable platform, the retailer was able to more easily identify gaps and capitalize on opportunities. Specifically, Big Lots became heavily focused on optimizing labor and the presence of associates on the floor. At Big Lots, it doesn’t matter whether a retail associate is actively engaged with customers, busy restocking or operating the register, they are fundamentally driving revenue. Some of the changes involved with Big Lots’ newfound approach include: placing store managers on the floor versus in the back, and closely dissecting data to determine the optimal place for employees to spend time in order to better assist customers and drive sales.  The impacts of these efforts enable Big Lots to address their goals in a most strategic manner that influences the bottom line.

For additional information on Retail TouchPoints’ Sixth Annual Store Operations Superstar Awards, check out the full posting on the Retail TouchPoints website or our press release on the win.


Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.