Analytics for bricks and mortar businesses | StoreTech

Harnessing analytics for bricks and mortar businesses

For many years, bricks and mortar retailers have looked at the level of analytics available to online stores with some jealousy. To know how many customers visit a store or even pass-by without going in is hugely beneficial, but one that the offline world couldn’t really access. With advances in people counting technologies this has changed and bricks and mortar retailers can now provide similar in-store analytics as they do online.

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What is in-store analytics?

In-store analytics

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In-store analytics is a term used to describe the process of gathering information about visitors to a store. This information is used to compile trend reports and make more informed data driven business decisions. The key to collecting this data, is by using people counting technologies; thermal and video are the most popular in the market today. But combining these traditional people counting technologies with RF detection, provides a more comprehensive insight into customer activities and behaviour like never before.

RF detection bridges the gap from thermal and video devices that know exactly how many people walked into the store, to provide new online type metrics like; dwell, passer-by’s and average queue time to name a few. RF detects and collects anonymous data from devices like smartphones. By positioning smart RF detection devices around a store, information about a device’s movement can be gathered without any personal details being obtained. Allowing the in-store analytics software to compile a picture of where that person goes in and around the store.

Another more recent advancement in technology is shopper profiling, available in advanced video cameras. In-store analytic software can use these images anonymously to build a general picture of a person; gender, age range, and even if they have children with them. It can also allow insight into their reaction to things around the store; 

Did they smile at the new advertisement? 

Were they frowning when a product had moved and they couldn’t find it? 

This can be hugely beneficial to a retailer to understand how key touch points around a store perform.

Making the most of the data

Of course, collecting the data is only one part of the task, you need software that can collate and interpret this data. That’s where in-store analytics software comes into the picture, allowing retailers to paint a better picture of their store’s customers, their behaviours, and their activities instore.

The data becomes crucial for many head office functions from marketing, sales and retail operations, as they will for the first time be able to create a more detailed picture of their customers and measure individual store performance. Reports of all types can be created around the shopper, and data-driven decisions can be made about how each store is operating. 

Are trading hours correct based on the footfall? 

How many people pass by the store without going in? 

Are staff available at the right times? 

In-store analytics allows head office management to gain complete insight into the estate, allowing them to compare stores, types and locations. This data can become the basis for benchmarking stores and providing new business metrics to measure store performance, thus providing a more performance driven culture based on real data.

At store level, having real-time visibility on performance as it happens throughout the day, brings a new way of working. One that makes a store really look operationally at what they are doing as well as a motivational tool, based around targets and forecasts. Conversion is the ultimate retail metric and provides a real focus to store teams on delivering a better customer experience. 

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Staff scheduling

One of the big ways that the software can benefit a business with a bricks and mortar presence, is through the use of staff scheduling. Many stores fight to achieve a balance in staffing numbers; too few and customers feel ignored, too many and customers feel pressured or uncomfortable. Of course, managing staff costs is one of the biggest expenses a retailer must deal with. Too often we find store management still writing out rotas with pen and paper or home made excel spreadsheets, with little visibility for anyone outside of the store to review.

Managers often make up rosters based on their own rough reckoning of when staff are needed. This might follow a pattern that has been unchanged for years or might even be dictated by staff availability rather than the needs of the business. But by using footfall data to create staff scheduling, a business can have accurate schedules that reflect the unique pattern of customers to their store. 

Staff scheduling to demand, based on historical footfall data provides a right people, in the right place, at the right time approach. This approach delivers a far better customer experience and the opportunity to convert more browsers into shoppers will mean the store increases conversion and sales.

Customer tracking

Every business would love to know what’s in the mind of their customers – what they want when they enter the store, why they walked away rather than came inside, or what promotions had an impact on them while they were in the store. 

With the customer tracking element of StoreTech’s software, businesses can manage this without the need for mind reading powers. Because each customer can be tracked around the store, a clear picture of where they go, what they look at and what they ignore can be created. By looking at the most popular areas of the store, a business can see where new products or promotions might best be located.

The use of promotions in a store window aren’t a new idea, but measuring the effectiveness of them has always been difficult. With the use of well-placed video cameras and analytics software, businesses can see people’s reactions to a promotion and if they enter the store having viewed it or not. Testing different promotions allows for the best window displays to be identified and for businesses to focus efforts on what works, based on real data.

Personalised shopping experience

In a way, the internet has spoiled shoppers, we are used to personalised recommendations, websites that remember who we are and what we like. We expect emails to address us by name and offer promotions on items that we buy, or are similar to those we have purchased in the past. Before the creation of in-store analytics, it was difficult for physical stores to offer this kind of personalisation.

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Now, with the use of smart technology and loyalty schemes, the customer experience can be enhanced to a level more on par with the online one. Loyalty schemes give customers an identity with the store and allow information to be gathered on their shopping habits. This in turn, means that offers and promotions can be targeted to them personally and with in-store analytics, you can see if these offers are working. 

The use of text messages for targeted promotions is another area that has grown in popularity. Sending someone a voucher for a discounted item when they are in that area of the shop can encourage a purchase that might not have been made. Whilst with the use of the video cameras, the customer’s reaction to that offer can be judged to see if it is positive or not.

Free People Counting, Conversion Management and Staff Scheduling Offer

Currently, businesses seeking to add the benefits of in-store analytics and a performance driven culture can take up a special, limited time offer from StoreTech – free people counting, conversion management and staff scheduling software for three months (please note terms and conditions apply).

This offer means businesses can access high powered tools such as performance dashboards, data analytics tables and charts without any charge. It also includes our target and forecast builder to make the best use of the data gathered and the staff scheduling component that has been proven to make a difference to customer service for retailers who are already using it.

To find out more, get in touch.

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