In 2012, Franz Messerli produced a scientific paper called Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function and Nobel Laureates. In his paper he wrote about how his research had found a strong connection between a country’s chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel Laureates they produced. There are reasons why this could be true especially as there are firmly held views about the ability of flavonoids, found in chocolate, to aid cognitive activity.
Chocolate lovers and chocolate makers would have been very excited by this. However, many scientists were not and pointed to issues that the research referred to chocolate consumption today when they were referring to Laureates who had grown up when the consumption may have been different. The research also crucially did not include countries that produced contradictory results.
In this case there was some evidence that was used that showed a connection but other evidence was not included in the study which could have helped to produce a very different finding. As a result, any aspiring Nobel prize winners may have found that their increased chocolate consumption led to unwanted weight gain and not a Nobel prize.
The reason I bring this up is because in retail, passionate employees are often looking to find great ideas that will improve performance in products and stores that will then deliver better results.
Often the cause of a change in performance is credited to the change in tactics in the store. Our natural enthusiasms and biases can lead us to believe that the improvement in performance is because of our idea. Too often our decision whether to continue or cascade an idea is based on too little information from too few sources.
For example, in a clothing store one customer had complained that having everyday basic lines at the back of the store was inconvenient. In response the store manager brought the everyday basics forward onto a fixture near the front of the store. Nearly 120 extra items were sold, on average, in the weeks that this stand was at the front. This was an increase of 22% making an average of £88 extra profit per week.
Unfortunately, the items at the back of the store were being visited less because of the movement of the basics. This had resulted in an 11% drop for these higher margin products, losing £801 of profit per week. The store manager had been thinking how good the basics had performed despite the downturn they had seen in overall sales but had not been viewing the whole impact.
This is important because I also believe that a lot of really good ideas have never got off the ground because they were not measured properly. If something is going to work, you need to understand what are the elements that make the difference.
A great idea can fall flat on its face because a good objective case is not made. It can be missed if all that is being looked at is overall sales. And most retailers do not have the budget to invest in market insight to see the difference that is being made by a lot of new initiatives.
Are you missing out on thousands of pounds of sales because you did not measure or could not measure the impact of your ideas?
Robust measurement comes from understanding how to set up proper trials, having the patience to study the data and having the equipment and expertise to deliver that analysis.
You want to know when you have an idea of real financial potential, instead of a chocolate teapot.
At ONVU Retail, we have the ability to measure retail operations and sales. We can use our systems; our analytics and our retail and people experience to identify strategies and tactics that can help to get your products and displays to perform at its best.
For more information about how we can help your store, get in touch with the ONVU Retail team now.