Metrics That Matter
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
One of the biggest challenges of a retail dietitian is to successfully communicate how their role has a positive impact on the business. It helps to start by having a value driven mindset. Envision your work as a business need not just a nice service - and your business is to have a positive impact on the business! It may be easy to talk about the work that you do in terms of providing educational selling programs, partnering internally to drive sales, engaging with customers and promoting your retailer’s health brand with community outreach, but it’s also vital to show the right metrics to prove your value. Consider the following questions:
- Are you just tracking vanity metrics? Social followers, event participants, web hits and media impressions are not completely meaningless numbers, but shouldn’t be what you are solely focused on.
- Are you recording all direct income? This may come in the form of vendor sponsorships, consultation fees, or wellness services provided to local companies. This income must be tracked and monitored as it can justify additional staff or highlight areas for potential growth.
- Are you tracking incremental sales lifts? When promoting better-for-you products at demos, with meal merchandising, or in dietitian’s pick programs, compare sales results during the featured time period to base sales during a previous comparable sales period and similar price point to measure incremental sales lift. Nutritional guidance and recipe recommendations can also inspire incremental purchases of new foods, private brands and fresh products.
- How are you tracking customer loyalty? Retail RDN services can positively impact customer retention and new customer acquisition rates but you need to work internally to create a process for measuring the value of your customer engagement - perhaps through your loyalty card program.
- Are you decreasing costs for your retailer? Consider how you may be decreasing costs and shrink through food safety initiatives or quality assurance efforts. Also, measure the impact of employee health and wellness programming. Track ROI for health care claims-based analysis or cohort analysis, comparing costs year-over-year.
- Are you successfully communicating your actionable metric results? Establish a weekly or monthly reporting structure to key individuals and discuss with your supervisor during any performance reviews. Stick to stats that are powerful and succinct and showcase how your work aligns with corporate goals.