Reference data is a subcategory of master data that’s used to define characteristics and indicators. In other words, reference data is used for classification. Whether you’re a small-business owner or operating a large enterprise-level retail business, it’s important that you have a reliable way to govern your master data. Put simply, master data is any shared data across systems or departments in your organization. For example, if you have an inventory tracking system connected to your point of sale (POS), the data shared between these systems in your retail solution is considered master data.
Like other forms of data, reference data can be generated either from within your organization or from external sources. It’s generally agreed that there are two main types of reference data: multi-domain and real-time data. Multi-domain data isn’t industry-specific and can be produced by numerous departments (finances, human resources, etc.) and content. Real-time data, on the other hand, is usually produced either in capital markets or by military intelligence markets. Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), it’s also becoming more common for organizations to collect metadata from online sources involving big data stores. If you’re interested in running a retail store, here are some important types of reference data you can expect to collect.
Whether online or in a brick and mortar storefront, retail operations exist to sell products to customers. Naturally, your store has to keep track of sales, and part of this is done with transaction codes. These codes are a type of reference data that represent individual payments and bank transactions. There are three basic types of transaction data.
- Cash Payments: These are payments made either by cash or by check.
- Bills of Exchange (BOE): These are agreements similar to letters of credit. An example could be a draft against a bank account until the maturity date. These payments aren’t as common in the United States as they are in some European countries, but worldwide retailers may deal with them.
- Bank Service: These codes are used for any purchases made from a credit or debit bank account.
All transaction data should be recorded in Accounts Receivable and Cash Management software.
Customer segmentation is the common process of dividing retail customers into different groups based on their characteristics in order to make it easier to market toward each segment of the target audience. Demographics such as age, gender, location, and life stage are all common examples. A B2B business owner might segment business customers based on their industry, location, or products, to name a few important characteristics.
Each segment is an important factor in how you choose to advertise, improve customer service, test pricing, and develop new products. Without customer segments, you’ll have a hard time offering a better customer experience, and your retail establishment will suffer.
Many different products are sold in retail stores, and each individual product needs to be tracked in order to accurately update inventory and keep track of purchases and security. This is done with individual serial codes on each product that are scanned at the retail location. If you sell security camera systems, for example, each of the retail security cameras in your possession should have their own code. This way, you always know what models are available and can accurately assist your customers and determine when to make new orders.
It’s always a good idea to set up your own retail surveillance system in your store. IP cameras with good video quality can keep watch on every area of your store to protect you against thieves, acts of vandalism, and other dangers. Some security systems can even alert law enforcement when criminal activity is detected.
Overall, reference data sets are important parts of your overall master data management. Without a good reference data solution, you may find it difficult to collect data and keep it consistent across all your departments.