Clearly, business success depends on making smart decisions. This applies as much to retail as it does to all other industries. And the best way of making the right choices is to have the right facts and figures. But reliable statistics are not always easy to get hold of. So, retailers often rely on reports, expert opinions, experience – and gut instinct. This is very human. Yet often wrong. After all, studies have shown that the businesses that base decisions on hard facts are the most profitable.
Tracking of movements as the basis for in-store and out-of-store analysis
When retailers can monitor customer traffic, including flows, timing, and even the stops they make, they can draw extremely valuable conclusions. Retail analytics tools deliver meaningful insights. Motionlogic, a T-Systems solution, captures and analyses movements, helping bricks-and-mortar retail to better understand the routes people take, and why. Traffic patterns can be correlated with specific triggers to identify particularly attractive positions and destinations. This offers traditional retailers tangible benefits: in real time, they can see when customers come to their shops, and in what numbers, and fine-tune their opening times accordingly. And they can precisely gauge whether advertising, such as billboards, has the desired effect of drawing people in through the front door. Plus they can detect customers who leave their store without making a purchase, and to which rival they subsequently turn – a highly useful, but low-cost form of competitor analysis. Moreover, when choosing a new store location, the retailer will know where the footfall is highest.
Monitoring in-store customer flows also makes good business sense. Within a known, relatively confined space, this can be performed by other means than anonymized cell-phone data. It is possible to leverage WLAN, near-field communication (NFC), cameras, motion detectors and Bluetooth to determine the number of people and their movements. In some instances, these methods require the consent of the individuals being observed (opt-in). What can a store manager do with this technology? They gain excellent visibility into customer volume, broken down by zone and dwell time. Traffic flows are clearly visualized, with an intuitive heat map showing aisles with the largest number of stop-and-stare shoppers. What’s more, they can pinpoint departments that are being overlooked, and reconfigure the store layout to optimize traffic flows and improve visitor numbers. They can identify the best place for promotional displays and advertising boards – and precisely measure their impact. Analysis of customer traffic patterns through the various departments is also an extremely good basis for effective staff roster planning.
Many retail analytics systems generate useful information. But the right combination, and their seamless interaction, is all-important. With this in mind, retailers should partner with proven integration specialists in order to implement the technology that best meets their real-world imperatives.