In-store passive data measurement has the power to connect the dots between the consumers, channels, and the various lines of business within a retail organization — and it significantly contributes to a successful and optimized omni-channel strategy.
Physical stores are key touch points where consumers can experience a retail brand, and they play a big part in driving long-term loyalty. That’s why recently a number of the largest, most successful, pure-play commerce retailers (including Zappos, Warby Parker and Birchbox) have opened brick-and-mortar locations. And figuring out what is actually happens at these physical stores — how consumers interact with the merchandise, and how they navigate a store — can help a company understand how to better design their products as well as their displays to maximize revenues.
Interior analytics is still an emerging discipline, and defining the hard ROI of specific solutions can be tough. But, without a doubt, gaining visibility into what is happening with shoppers across the in-store environment is valuable to overall success. How they interact with a store impacts their engagement with the brand — delivering soft ROI that significantly contributes to the ultimate goal of driving loyalty and conversion.
Here are a few ways that retailers can use interior analytics data to understand their customers and better facilitate the shopping experience:
Adjust staffing levels within the store to optimize shopper volume
Retailers can deploy the appropriate level of associates throughout each department by time of day to service shoppers. This could simply mean repositioning the right number of associates in different locations as shopper volume indicate refined by day, by week, by hour for an optimized labor and service model. More service, better experience drives to improved conversions.
Ease of Navigation
Measuring where shoppers visit within the store can show retailers the most cross-shopped departments. Understanding this, retailers can optimize shopper experience and revenues, relocating these departments closer together. They may also strategically locate key SKUs from these highly cross-shopped departments to drive conversion.
Improve Product Performance
In-store measurement allows retailers to identify the most highly traveled routes within the store and how long shoppers remain in specific areas. This is the opportunity for retailers to place key merchandise in these highly traveled areas to drive conversion, improve sell-through, and promote merchandise. Shoppers have a better experience when they can find the products they want to purchase. Retailers benefit by satisfying customers and driving sales.
Measuring wait times
Understanding how long your shopper stands in line at customer service likely does not have a direct, hard ROI. However, it most certainly impacts the experience of the customer with the store. Measuring fitting room, point-of-sale, and queue wait times can give retailer the opportunity to improve throughput that can drive the hard ROI.
Measuring Shopper Flow
Understanding where shoppers move in the store provides valuable insights into shopper experience. Identifying the areas that have the greatest amount of flow within the store: hot areas, cold areas, congested areas can all be improved with this data, all which impact experience.
Measuring dwell times
Shopper dwell times can be an indicator of experience measurement. Retailers can measure experience by identifying optimal dwell times by department, time of day and season. The business can adjust service levels and strategies for service with dwell measurement.
All lines of business and channels within retail organization work together. Using measurement in-store gives retailers visibility to connect how channels are impacting in-store shopper behavior. The sum total of all the parts of that equation is customer experience. The physical store is the cornerstone of successful omni-channel strategy now and in the future of retail.
Anne Marie Stephen is a passionate evangelist for innovation in retail technology and analytics. She is currently Vice President of Sales and Customer Development at iinside, location based mobile technology, analytics and engagement for offline environments. Her Twitter handle is @AnneMarie_ams.
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