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Payments data: the key to unlocking success


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Businesses often forget about the data hidden in their customer payments. Total costs and sales values end up being the only data sets that are routinely checked and have an impact as a measure of how well things are going. But by not devoting more time to this data, these companies are missing out on gaining some highly valuable insights into their customers and opportunities for growth. As customers increasingly expect tailored and personalised experiences, a full understanding of data is key to understanding customer behaviour on a granular level. 

By understanding how your customers like to shop by assessing methods of payment, as well as peak times and dates for your business, you can optimise to shopping habits - perhaps offering incentives for times in the year you know sales are slower or offering mobile wallet options if your customers primarily shop through their mobiles. You can make sure your banking window when transactions are batched for settlement doesn’t coincide with busy shopping periods, making reconciliation easier and reducing slip. You can understand the reasons behind transaction declines and identify points of friction that can be worked on to increase conversion. Payment data provides an easy way to increase the productivity and understanding of your business, highlighting areas that are and aren’t working and offering actionable learning.

Without a comprehensive view of what’s happening, an understanding of long-term trends and risks, and a strong sense of what customers look for, businesses can hinder themselves, basing strategy on what they think they should be doing rather than insights taken from their data. That’s why it’s so important to delve into the key metrics behind your performance.

Making sense of the vast amount of data available to businesses can be overwhelming. From website analytics to social media, accounting software to payments systems - wherever you look, there’s a different source advising you to use data to help you to grow your business, or to operate smarter, or to manage costs, and every single one has a different opinion how to do it.

Ultimately what really matters is what questions you want answering.

Ask yourself the right questions, take the right actions
  • How is my business performing compared to last week/month/year?
  • Which are my busiest days and times of day for sales?
  • How many customers do I have and how often do they buy from me?
  • How many new customers have I gained this week/month/year?
  • How often do transactions get declined and why?
  • What % of my sales happen online versus in-person?
  • Which of my branches is performing best/worst?

A monthly dashboard that answers questions like these will help you to get a handle on your business and means you’ll spot any trends or red flags. Going forward, you will be able to use these insights from your data to ensure that your strategy is customised to your business, rather than wasting time implementing changes that don’t resound with your clients, as well as identify problems and troubleshoot before they impact your customers.

There are lots of ready sources of data, so start by working out what you already have access to. If your business is online, sign up for Google Analytics and use Google’s simple tutorials to understand what’s happening with your website and those of your competitors’.

We understand that it can often be time-consuming and frustrating to have to correlate data from different sources and combine it into one reporting tool. Your payments provider should be able to help you manage your data and build customisable reports.

At Cashflows, our easy reporting tools on Cashflows Go compare real-time data over hours, days, weeks, or years, staying close to your performance across all your payment channels and types, meaning less work for you. Reach out to your payments provider to find out how they can support you to get the most from your data.

When it comes to data and insight, you don’t have to do everything. Just tracking the answers to a few simple questions can transform the way you see your business and have a genuine impact on your business resilience, efficiency, and growth.