Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies ....

I was looking at some of our customer statistics yesterday and thought I would share. Some of the answers might be insightful. People ask me questions about them regularly. How many regular customers do you have? What's your average transaction? What I don't have are customer demographics, like age and gender, but my general impression is that we cater to young adult men. We don't throw around the term "gamer porn" for nothin'!

68% of our sales come from regulars. Being a regular means that you've been here enough to decide a paladin club card is in your interest. This number tells me important things, such as I should market quite a bit to my existing base, that I should work to get new regulars, and that I shouldn't put a disproportionate effort into attracting the general public.

Half a percent of sales is the amount our top customer spent in the store over the last year. I mention this because although customer service is paramount, nobody, by themselves, keeps the doors open.  Half of the top ten this year weren't in the top ten last year, but all were long term customers. Customer interests ebb and flow. Some people move away, die, get married, or lose interest, so standing still is not an option. Stores need to continually build their base. As an aside, I think it's never a good idea to identify or rank your customers, including rewarding them. I did this once after reading a magazine article on client relationships and it caused nothing but trouble. Everyone is your top customer.

$800 is the average lifetime sales of our regular customer. It's twice as high as the industry average I've heard thrown around. A top ten customer might spend ten times this amount. The average customer has come in 24 times over the last two years, an average of one time a month. This tells me that the answer to "what's new?" is what has come out in the last month. The tendency for us is to rotate new stock when space becomes an issue, rather than a particular date. Perhaps if we can't keep something on the new shelf for a month, we need a bigger shelf? Top 20 customers come in, on average, exactly once a week.

Game space and events are unimportant to half of our top 20 customers. You will never see them in the back and thus, they are less known to other customers and staff. This also tracks with our event emails, with half of respondents never opening event emails. That said, the other half of those top twenty customers are in at least once a week and take full advantage of our facilities. Game space has been a big issue for me because it seemed to take a disproportionate amount of time. The good news then, is that it's useful for at least half of our top customers.  It's not disproportionate at all!