5 Hyperlocal Platforms To Improve Store Operations

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aisleWhile the debate over the use of indoor positioning technology inside retail stores has largely centered on how location information is collected, much less has been discussed about the actual ways businesses like department stores, malls, and other retailers can utilize the data they collect. In addition to offering marketers a way to send targeted promotions based on real-time customer locations, indoor navigation vendors can also provide merchants with advanced tools for improving store operations.

Using indoor positioning and navigation tools, retailers can pinpoint traffic backups, improve store layouts, and deploy additional cashiers when checkout lines have reached certain maximum thresholds. They can also boost sales with merchandising displays that have been specifically designed to combat the dreaded “showrooming” effect. Here are five tools that retailers can use to upgrade the shopping experience inside their brick-and-mortar stores.

1. SOLOMO Technology: Watch how shoppers interact with displays.
SOLOMO Technology eliminates the guessing game that retail managers usually play when deciding where to set up new in-store displays. The platform provides its clients with real-time indoor maps and analytics that pinpoint the places where new signage or marketing messages should be set up. Retailers can improve store operations by routing employees to different departments based on real-time demand, while also identifying “high-value customers.” Accurate location data is gathered anonymously through in-store Wi-Fi. The SOLOMO Exchange is priced on a SaaS model. Businesses pay a monthly fee, which is calculated based on the “size of the locations and number of average daily visitors to those locations.”

2. Vizualize: Decrease customer wait times at the point-of-sale.
Vizualize is an in-store analytics platform that provides retailers with tools for shopper tracking, audience measurement, and people counting. Using the data they gather through Vizualize, retailers can speed up checkout lines and optimize staff schedules based on typical traffic patterns. Managers can get real-time alerts when queue lines get too long, and they can move staff between departments based on demand. Retailers can also measure what affect their window displays and store layouts are having on sales. Vizualize operates on a hybrid model, offering direct project based implementation and distributor partnerships, along with a monthly payment model.

3. iInside: Identify the best and worst performing departments in any store.
iInside provides merchants with a way to quantify traffic density within specific store departments, improve resource allocation, and optimize their store layouts. Indoor positioning nodes — which are the size of deck of cards — help businesses measure customer foot traffic with heat maps and trending reports in real-time. Retailers can review dwell times, traffic patterns, and “showrooming behavior.” They can also gain insight into the effectiveness of certain displays. iInside’s pricing is based on the number of departments in a store. The company charges a “small monthly fee” per department.

4. RetailNext: Maximize loss prevention efforts.
Shoplifting is a major problem for retailers. RetailNext offers a way to reduce instances of theft by combining in-store analytics with POS exception reporting and video surveillance functionality. Retailers can also optimize staffing decisions based on real-time customer volume levels and improve the service they’re offering on the sales floor with a combination of in-store heat maps and alerts. Larger retailers can view data broken down by store, region, or chain. RetailNext charges clients an upfront cost for hardware and software licensing fees, along with an ongoing monthly fee.

5. Euclid Analytics: Adjust window displays to maximize capture rates.
Department stores, specialty retailers, and quick-serve restaurants can utilize Euclid’s zone-level analytics and foot-stream data to find areas for improvement within their brick-and-mortar locations. Using in-store Wi-Fi or dedicated sensors, marketers can identify high-value customers and measure how well outside traffic is converting into engaged visitors. Retailers can track how capture rates are influenced by variations in window displays, and pinpoint which displays are causing customers to “bounce.” Euclid’s pricing plans for small businesses range from free to $99 per store, per year.

Know of other tools that businesses can use to improve in-store operations? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.