Data-Savi retailers have been practicing store traffic monitoring for well over a decade. In particular, apparel retailers have embraced foot traffic counts as a tool to help them understand and strategize their staffing, conversion and marketing efforts. In-store analytics are critical and give retailers a deeper insight into key store metrics that a business can leverage to increase its bottom line.
In order to fully benefit from this new customer tracking technology, retailers must understand how to integrate the new data streams with the existing data from POS terminals, traffic counters and other sources.
In-Store Insight Technologies
In capturing in-store insights, retailers employ two main methods which preserve the privacy of shoppers as well as their anonymity. These methods are mobile phone analytics and video analytics. Each of these technologies has its own salient features which allow retail store owners to capture and present real and actionable insights to inform their marketing, operation and merchandising strategies. Video analytics for instance provides visual insight into the behavior of customers. Cell phone analytics on the other hand have a capacity to track single shoppers over multiple visits and through vast spaces.
Analytics for Marketers
It is important marketers understand the effectiveness of both out-of-store and in-store media in converting site visitors into buyers. Before in-store analytics came into the picture, marketers solely relied upon traffic and sales data to gauge the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns in driving incremental sales and traffic. Now, with in-store analytics, marketers can access deeper insights into the effectiveness of sales and traffic generation promotions in moving consumers down the sales funnel.
Through in-store analytics, retailers can measure the performance of promotional campaigns that target a specific clothing line by simply reviewing the incremental traffic driven to the particular product or category. In instances where poor conversion rates persist, marketers can quickly turn to in-store tools such as discounting or point-of-purchase materials to motivate their customers. If well implemented, in-store analytics can enable marketers understand the impact retail store changes have on shopper conversion.
Analytics for Merchandisers
Merchandisers can also benefit immensely from in-store analytics. Traditionally, store sales data has been a key metric in understanding the performance of particular categories and products. However, with the advent of in-store analytics, merchandisers can now have a deeper understanding on how displays and planograms impact the conversion of the shoppers within a certain product category or shelf.
Before investing in a particular clothing line display, a merchandiser may first segment a group of stores to serve as test and control layouts so as to determine how the display captures customer interest. If the response is positive then the retailer can comfortably roll out the display across all the stores. In cases where the merchandiser experiences high category traffic but low sales volumes, he can test other strategies including discounting to measure their impact on conversion rates.
Analytics for Operations
Video analytics in particular can deliver a number of operational insights which reveal the extent to which store execution strategies enhance customer experience and conversion. Many retailers have for a long time been concentrating on the speed of service as a selling point and a key differentiator from their competitors. The problem with this metric is that it could not be reliably captured. Video analytics is an important in-store analytic technology which makes it easier to capture this performance metric at every location and help in developing benchmarks to against which service effectiveness is measured at all locations.
Using in-store analytics, retail owners and managers no longer have to double guess on the effectiveness of their sales staff in converting browsers into buyers. They can track the exact time customers spend before being assisted by the sales people together with the percentage of customers receiving assistance from sales people.
Incorporating In-Store Analytics
Retailers should utilise sound big data practices when incorporating in-store analytics so as to minimise data overload and create actionable insights. Since the common goal in retail stores is to convert as many shoppers as possible into buyers, in-store analytics should be viewed from the perspective of store conversion rates. The best analytic systems and technologies are those that capture traffic counts and transaction data. This will help the retailer to understand the reasons why shoppers buy. To get the most value from the new insights of in-store analytics, the customer flow technology employed should incorporate the existing data streams. This will make the entire business competitive both online and offline.