As the internet becomes the focus for many of our retailing efforts, the increase in analytics has also grown. Websites can track what you do while visiting, where you go and even what part of a page you click on. But in a retail store, it is harder to track this information without having someone tailing every customer, taking notes. Yet there are ways to gather and understand this data to help make decisions within the store – it is known as customer analytics.
What is customer analytics?
Customer analytics is the answer to all those questions in the store that can be answered easily online with tracking of customers and what they do. The idea behind it and the various systems that it uses is that businesses no longer need to be blind about what their customers do within their physical premises. It is a way to understand why a customer walks down Aisle 1 but ignores Aisle 2. Or why they pick up three items but only buy one. It is the real world version of online analytics that offers so much insight into what customers want.
There is already an amount of data about what customers do before they enter the store. You can learn about the route they travel, how long they stay in the shop and where they do within it. This comes through the use of big data, technology and analytics that means businesses can have more accurate information than ever before.
How it works
Two of the main sources of information used in customer analytics are Wi-Fi hotspot data and information from surveillance cameras. These can be used together to create a detailed map of what the customer does while in the store. This can be combined with sales systems and transaction data to paint a clearer picture than ever before of the customer’s behaviour.
One study looked at five shopping malls in the US and discovered that over 60% of shoppers left their Wi-Fi active while walking around the shops. This meant that their phones were pinging from hotspot to hotspot, creating a digital footpath of where they had been. Nor do shoppers need to log onto the hotspot for this to work and only around 3% of those studied did this. But a picture was created of where they went – which stores they visited and which they walked past.
This can then be added to data from surveillance cameras and we all know how widespread their use is currently. This allows the addition of data to that phone information such as age and gender. Images can even pick up on the emotions of customers as they shop – what makes them smile, frown, what tempts them to make a purchase and what they ignored.
Acting with the information
Of course, having all this data is only the first step – interpreting it and making changes based on what is uncovered is the other step and the crucial one. Software is available to help with all of this and can work on a number of areas.
Footfall data is probably one of the most important elements of customer analytics. Knowing where people go within the shop, called people counting, can be used with conversion information to decide what parts of the store work well and what need amendments. Insights gained can help with improving sales, staff productivity optimisation and identifying best practises.
The very space within the shop can also be more productive in many cases and the data gained can help with this. Analytics look at where customers spend the most time within the shop and where they fail to visit. This can help to pinpoint optimal locations for those high margin items such as seasonal items or special offers that businesses want customers to see first.
All businesses realise that customer service is crucial but one area that customer analytics can reveal is about staffing levels to provide that excellent customer service. A poor staff to customer ratio leads to a feeling of being rushed or ignored and a poor experience. By looking at when you need resources for what tasks, businesses can organise rotas accordingly.
Understanding behavioural insights can be a tricky job and one often best done with experts on hand. But it can be telling and covers area such as navigational routes through the store, product exposure and engagement that can lead to shop floor adjustments or rearrangements. This is an ever changing area that requires constant reassessment.
What Storetech does
Storetech offers software that can help make the whole customer analytics process simple and streamlined, allowing businesses to quickly gather and interpret information and make decision based on data rather than hunches.
The system offers a sales performance dashboard that uses real time data to report on performance. This allows a business to focus on conversion data as well as sales and looks for areas where improvements or changes can be made. The program works on key metrics and drives business focus while helping to isolate and eliminate poor behaviours and that irrelevant ‘noise’ within the business premises. The end result is a business that is ‘always on’ with high levels of enthusiasm, people working towards clear targets and store managers whose presence is a positive factor.
Analytics for the physical world
Systems such as that offered by Storetech allow the kind of analytics associated with the online world to be available in the physical world. It can help businesses to plan every aspect of their premises from when staff should be available to where high margin items should be placed and how to handle areas of the store that are rarely visited.
The level of insight on offer from this type of system means that businesses can vastly improve their customer service and satisfaction levels, encouraging return visits and customer loyalty. This can even translate to the online world, when customers share their positive experiences on social media and spread word of your businesses to others for free.