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Ways To Use Customer Data To Improve Your Sales
DotActiv TeamFeb 15, 2022 3:45:00 PM7 min read

3 Ways To Use Customer Data To Improve Your Sales

We can not emphasise enough that your retail data is the lifeblood of your business. Without it, you’ll struggle to compete with your competitors, both direct and indirect. There is also another data type that you can use to your advantage. That’s your customer data, which includes personal information. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can collect this data.

That includes the most well-known ways such as customer loyalty cards, product sales, newsletter sign-ups and competitions. Of course, collecting such data must be done correctly. There are the POPIA regulations in South Africa, for example, that you need to know. In Europe, there is the need to be GDPR compliant

All that aside - and assuming that you adhere to all the legal requirements - any collected customer data can help you increase your sales.

About the contributors

Isabell van Dyk joined DotActiv in early 2020 as a space planner in Johannesburg. Since joining, she has worked on various accounts, including Pick n Pay. Currently, she works on the L'Oréal account. She has a Bachelor of Consumer Science (Honours) in Clothing Retail Management from the University of Pretoria.

Nadia Duvenage joined DotActiv in late 2020 as a space planner to work on a variety of our ad-hoc accounts. She since moved over to work on the Food Lover’s Market account. She has a BCom (Honours) in Marketing from Stellenbosch University.

Tanya van der Merwe joined DotActiv at the beginning of 2018. She currently oversees the Makro General Merchandise account. Makro is a wholesaler chain and subsidiary of Massmart that has international ties to Walmart. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Marketing Management from the University of Pretoria.

Purchasing Habits

Understand the purchasing habits of your customers

Any data that you collect can help you to understand what's happening in your store at any time. Want to know which products are your top performers? You can look at your sales figures. Want to know where your worst performing products are in the store? You can look at your floor plan in specialised software using heatmaps. 

It's the same when it comes to your customer data. With this, you can understand their purchasing habits. What did they buy last month? You can look at the data collected from your POS system. There are also your loyalty cards, which allows you to dig into the specifics.

At any given time, you can look at the individual profiles of your shoppers and know what they have bought. You can discover how often they buy products and what they buy when. With this information, you can tailor individual discounts or specials.

Let's consider the example of a customer walking into your store. They signed up for your loyalty card programme years ago, so you have enough information to understand them. When they swipe their card at your store, you can see what products they purchased and offer them a discount on any of them in the future. 

If your rewards program includes a newsletter, you can email them when an item they regularly purchase is on sale. We touch on that in more detail below. Suffice to say, it's all about open communication and allowing your customers to make informed purchasing decisions. 

You could also offer rewards at the till in the form of discounts or points if they purchase items at a total cost. What this does is twofold. 

Firstly it generates further loyalty. They know that when they shop at your store, they'll get a discount and so they'll return. That's guaranteed sales for you.

Secondly, it can lead to additional purchases as you encourage them to buy more to get more rewards. Instead of coming into your store to purchase one item, they buy two or three to meet that total cost threshold.

You are also better positioned to plan any in-store promotions. 

Let's consider that your shopper data can show you that the top 10 items in the average customer basket includes Deodorants and Face Wash of the same brand. Using this information, you could do a 'Buy 3 and Pay for 2' promotion on all products of that brand.

Customer Experience


Improve the in-store shopping experience

Your customer data can help you understand what shoppers purchase in-store. That's a fact and critical to your long-term success because of the financial impact it has on your bottom line. 

The other point is that your customer data helps you improve the customer experience in-store. How?

For one, it can inform your inventory management and assortment planning process. By understanding what your customers purchase each month, you can determine the right mix of products to stock at all times. That leads to fewer out of stock situations.

Also, in offering the right products at the right time at the right price, you set the scene for an enjoyable shopping experience and future loyalty. Why wouldn’t a shopper want to come to your store if they know that they can find the products they want and need at a price they can afford?


Do you need help analysing and understanding your data? Let DotActiv help 


Let’s use the example of the same person who visits your store and has been a loyal customer for years. But extend it to a group who are all the same as this person. With the collected customer data, you can understand which items they purchased at any time. Knowing this, you can identify that they would buy Item A over Item B. They would also ignore Item C.

You now know that your product mix should include a split that favours Item A. You can still stock Item B, but it must not get more shelf space than the sales figures suggest it deserves. Meanwhile, you can delist Item C, eventually working it out of the product range for your store.

So how does this lead to increase sales? We’ve already alluded to it above. By ensuring product availability and preventing stockouts, you encourage shoppers to visit your store. That prevents them from going to your competitors.

There is also the point that once you have shoppers in your store, you can use specific merchandising techniques and strategies to expose them to more of your products.

Customer Communication

Communicate with your customers

Regular communication with your customers who are part of your rewards or loyalty programme is a must if you are interested in increasing your sales. That much is a given.

It's because of a few reasons.

Firstly, it can help build and maintain trust between yourself and your customers. In a social media age where every business is vying for their attention, a single piece of communication is never enough. Instead, it needs to be regular enough so they don't forget about what you can offer.

Of course, you need to ensure that you don't spam your customers or send them information about irrelevant deals. That can turn a once-loyal customer against you. 

But this is where your customer data can help you. Increased trust can lead to brand loyalty, which improves customer retention. It comes back to giving your customers a reason to return to your store, which ultimately leads to more sales.

Secondly, you can receive feedback from your customers. By allowing two-way communication, your customers can provide feedback and reviews. 

Do you want to know if your customers are happy that you stock a particular product? Why not send them a survey to find out or communicate via social media. Using the answers you receive can help inform any future assortment planning decisions.

Thirdly, regular communication with your customers regarding promotions personalised to their buying habits can prompt them to visit your store. If you have a rewards program linked to a mobile app, you can send personalised communication to your customers. Using any collected data means you can push through information on items bought when they are on sale.


It goes without saying that you need to use any collected customer data responsibly. When done legally and appropriately, you can use this data to personalise the customer experience and maximise your sales. 

Do you need help understanding the data you collect around your business? Visit our online store here or book your custom exploratory consultation here.


DotActiv Team

The DotActiv team comprises category management experts lending their retail experience and knowledge to create well-researched and in-depth articles.