Data Driven or Data Informed? What would you consider yourself? Are you data driven or are you data informed? In a recent webinar by Jeff Gothelf on agile planning, he discussed being data driven versus being data informed. The example he used is if you measured the response to favoring red or green, what would that data tell you and what decision would you make? If the results were 60% liked red and 40% liked green, would you then buy just red, if you had one option. That would be a data driven example based on Quantitative evidence.

If you were to dig a little deeper and study why the results are what they are, you might come up with a different decision. For example, what was the makeup of the response group? Based on the breakdown of social status, ethnicity, age, income, etc., would that make a difference? Understanding from whom the responses are coming from and the influential factors affecting the decisions of each of those groups might make a difference in your decision. In this example if you are data informed you would weigh the Qualitative questions, as just raised, and that might change your decision. Think of quantity of data for quantitative analysis and the quality of the data for qualitative analysis. Consider this series of data you might analyze:


Vendor A has the highest sales but also the highest purchases.

Vendor B has the highest Gross profit.

Vendor C has the best turn and GMROI.

Each set of data represents a different set of results. If you only looked at one set, you might draw a different conclusion. Vendor A represents the highest volume, Vendor B the highest Gross profit and Vendor C has the best purchases to sales ratio as well as the highest turn and GMROI. If you only looked at sales, or only at Gross profit you would not be seeing the entire picture. As you look at other sets of data questions arise and perhaps seeking additional data may be required. This would be an example of Qualitative analysis that includes reviewing the data with critical thinking and asking what is behind the data.

Data analysis is now a part of every piece of your business, from incentivizing your people, managing your inventory, understanding your customer's behaviors, and managing your expenses.

I have always considered myself a sort of data junkie. Over the years, I have learned to ask, what is the data telling me? What data is important? How do I analyze it and does it play an important role in my decision making process?

Now consider this; Amazon updates logic into various parts of their goliath systems every 11.6 seconds. They use some of that logic to measure customer's behaviors. They have also become incredibly skilled at knowing how to qualitatively use that information to make decisions. In some sense, this type of instant measurement allows them to act as nimbly as a small retailer.

We are not Amazon, with apparently unending resources, but we have plenty of data we can collect and understand to make better and more informed data decisions. We have other advantages, but they only become our advantage if we know what to look for and how to act on what we have discovered.

For more information on digging into and measuring and analyzing your data, contact Management One™.  We will gladly provide you a review and share with you what we find out about your business. Together, we may discover some hidden treasures buried within all that data. Let's find out!

Marc Weiss

Managing Director


Speaking of data analysis, the trend line is down, but what other data is missing before arbitrarily considering that business is trending south? It seems a reasonable conclusion, at least on the surface. There is however a direct correlation for our stores of delivery of product, (inventory flow) and sales growth. The ongoing strength and solid increases of the contemporary stores tells us something about the market and the customer's willingness to continue to spend. This niche has constant access to merchandise. They also can get often, key items and fill in important categories. The fact that we are seeing double digit increases across the country in this important grouping, gives evidence to how well this category continues to evolve.  By mixing both branded and non branded goods, shoulder seasons no longer have to suffer waiting for the next delivery from key vendors. This also makes us believe that stores with decreasing results may have more strategic issues to compensate as seasons trail down. If your store had a 6.1 % increase for the season and slid at the end, what were the contributing factors? In every category we manage, from luxury to, bridge and moderate apparel and then from footwear , outdoor, gifts, home and pets,  there were significant numbers of  winners in every month in every sector of the country. Your goal and our job are to seek out what is working and build, and not only sustain and maintain market share, but to capture a greater slice of the pie. There are always classifications that are working and your job as a retailer is to be in business in those categories, irrespective of any published trending information you consider.

Onwards and Upwards or as our Irish family likes to say "Er eyeg augus a knee us"