Brick and mortar retailers have never been hungrier for customer behaviour insight. Rather than opening new stores, many recognise the need to maximise revenue within each existing store by using space efficiently and engagingly. Knowing what will convert browsers into buyers once they’re through the door can be incredibly powerful. This is where interior analytics comes into play.
Actions based on insight
Interior analytics can inform managers what is, and what isn’t working in their stores, as they strive to attract shopper interest, and drive conversions. People counting technology can read how traffic is flowing, and which areas of the store are busy or too quiet. Merchandise hits and misses can be measured. The value of sales floor features such as fitting rooms or product demo areas can be calculated.
The newest technology on the scene uses Wi-Fi and customer mobile devices to count visitors entering the store and track movements anonymously. Its strength lies in providing additional intelligence when working in conjunction with traditional counting cameras, offering additional insights such as dwell time and visit frequency. A store can discover whether a shopper is a repeat visitor (because that phone’s MAC address has been tracked before) or a new customer, and which customer type is likely to remain in store the longest. This is all prized information if used to commercial advantage.
Here are five quick wins for retailers who make use of interior analytics.
- Measure and improve marketing effectiveness
People or traffic counting provides insights that can be used to analyse the effects of marketing initiatives undertaken. The data is used to judge the impact of a campaign, how it performed, what traffic uplift it achieved, what sales conversion was generated, and whether it would be worth repeating. Retailers can build an overall picture of in-store activity, use insight to maximise a store’s sales potential, and minimise customer drop-off rates.
For example, a shoe retailer might run a 30% off discount promotion over a weekend in city stores, and discover that it drives a 10% uplift in conversions, justifying the marketing costs. However, a promotion offering 10% off prices, which proves not to impact conversion rate or basket size, would not be run again. An Instagram or Facebook event-based, or product-based marketing campaign can be measured as a traffic driver, to judge its effectiveness with a particular target audience.
- Drive conversions with optimum dwell times
It’s vital for retailers to understand the optimum time people spend in stores. Do they convert quickly, (as is typically the case with a value-end fashion chain), or enjoy a long browsing time with lots of sales associate engagement (as in a luxury brand specialist)? If you don’t know what the optimum dwell time is, you can’t begin to deliver the desired experience for your target audience, and convert the most possible shoppers.
- Optimise the payment process
Some 57% of British survey respondents cited queuing as their biggest frustration with the in-store experience, according to recent consumer research carried out by payments provider Adyen. Losing sales because customers can’t face a long checkout queue is a painful reality for some stores globally, but it needn’t be the case. With interior analytics this problem can be monitored in real time, and issues in individual stores triggering an alert and action can be taken.
A garden centre outlet, for instance, might find that Monday morning customers are in the payment areas for just 3 minutes, while on a Friday late afternoon this rises to 15 minutes. With this insight it’s straightforward for the store manager to optimise associate coverage and the checkout process to streamline the customer experience and improve transaction processing. Being in step with traffic peaks in this way also demonstrates to store teams that everything possible is being done to ease the stressful peak times, and make their jobs easier.
- Streamline the path to purchase
This refers to utilisation of the store space, so that the most successful route to completing a sale is identified, and optimised. It’s possible to establish the typical route someone would make as they progress through browsing to purchase. Data analytics can make it clear which are the most lucrative shopper journeys and streamline these to eliminate barriers to that final, crucial sale. With an easier flow between the connected product areas, perhaps luxury swimwear and flight luggage, or kids’ toys and wrapping paper, more conversions are often forthcoming.
Similar improvements can be made along the main store thoroughfares, so special offer merchandise can be tested next to the busiest route towards the checkout. Clever use of store space for product displays is not new, but the science of measuring and improving on results is becoming more and more sophisticated, thanks to interior analytics.
- Bump up the draw rate
Interior analytics solutions can also be used to track draw rate into stores. This means stores can know what percentage of passing traffic is being attracted over the threshold of a given store. It’s the first real conversion rate in physical retail, and depends on the effectiveness of window displays, whether or not entrance doors are always kept open, signage and visible merchandise. By making changes and measuring success over time, a retail chain can discover the very best strategy for attracting people off the street.
Get ahead in the customer experience race
Industry commentators have noted recently that while online might be winning the buying contest in a great many categories, the race for customer experience excellence is still being run, and stores remain firmly in the lead.
Customers still flock to stores, but they expect a remarkable, or at least welcoming, efficient and comfortable experience when they get there. With interior analytics retailers can map that out, with the confidence that they’ve measured and proved what makes their customers shop.