Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric
Reviewed by Vicki Liston for Reader Views (6/11)
A struggling economy has forced business owners and managers to do whatever it takes to keep making a profit: cutting corners, reevaluating products, shortening shifts, and even layoffs. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures. However, author Mark Ryski sees most businesses as selling themselves short; working hard at advertising but not following through on the most important part – the customer conversion. His mentality is one of ‘work smarter, not harder’ and his new book, “Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric” can show you exactly how to accomplish this.
“Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric” is an extremely thorough look at the science and principles of customer conversion. For those of us unschooled in retail, it’s an eye opening education on how a business should operate. Companies can spend a fortune on advertising but what about the follow through? Even if customers come out in droves for a sale, why are the numbers still disappointing at the end of the day? Ryski says there’s one critical piece that many retailers don’t look at or don’t bother prioritizing: traffic data. If potential customers take the time to come out to a store to see an advertised product, why do many of them leave without purchasing? This answer can come from a myriad of sources but it can mean the difference between a ‘good’ and ‘great’ business day.
“Conversion” is broken down into three sections for easier incorporation. Ryski spends the beginning of the book explaining what conversion is, why it is so important, why it is underused, and how businesses can take advantage of this data. He goes on to specific examples of companies that have utilized these tactics and have applied them to their daily business practices with overwhelming results. He also offers arguments against conversion usage and why these don’t stand up in the long run. His second section concentrates on the ‘hows’ of traffic data extraction and what exactly can – and should – be learned. Finally, his third section explains the application side of the data. Why compile all this information and not use it effectively? He concludes his book with the same arguments presented in the first section and reiterates that many companies still do not use this process to boost sales. His use of graphs, charts, tables, and pictures throughout help drive his message and give specific examples of his topics.
Ryski spends an exceptional amount of time explaining his concepts in an easy to understand format. For those of us less analytically minded, this material has the potential to become dry and difficult to read but Ryski interjects enough enthusiasm to keep it interesting. While I don’t have a background in retail, I still found his theories fascinating – and I had no idea that attention to traffic detail would have such a profound effect on business success. Well-edited, I found Ryski’s book to be eloquent, informative, and indicative of a professional expert. “Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric” is a definite ‘must read’ for anyone in retail looking to make their business a true success.