Top Reasons to Invest in an In-Store Analytics and Engagement Platform
The retail industry has always been marked by intense competition, tight profit margins and extremely demanding customers. The only way to survive and thrive in this industry is to keep developing new competencies that will drive customer spend.
Fortunately, in-store analytics is starting to make inroads in this sector. The latest generation of location analytics platforms can greatly expand a retailer’s capacity for foresight. By capturing and analyzing customer data, a store owner can figure out hidden patterns of consumer behavior and get immediate answers to important business questions.
If you’re still on the fence about deploying an in-store analytics and engagement platform, here are some of the reasons which may persuade you to make your mind up:
1. Knowing Your Customer
You probably know that one of the keys to retail success in this brave new world is to offer a personalized experience to your customers. Treating each visitor as an individual instead of a potential sale can show an immense increase in repeat business.
However, the problem is that a lot of visitors walking into retail outlets remain unknown. There is no way for a store manager to know whether a person walking in through the door is a loyalty member or a first time visitor. Consequently, you end up providing the same experience to everyone. And clearly, in a digital and interconnected world, a one size fits all approach to customer experience is akin to disaster.
With a WiFi analytics solution, you can nip this problem in the bud. When customers opt to connect to your in-store WiFi, they’ll be able to do so by providing their name, email address or a phone number. Or you can have them sign in through their Facebook or Twitter accounts. The customer information which is collected through the captive portal is then associated with their mobile device identity or their MAC addresses. This lets you identify customers entering your store.
Next time a customer walks in, you’ll be able to identify her as Paige Adams. Not just that, you’ll even know that she lives in New Jersey, is a loyalty member and visits your Jersey Shore outlet at least 3 times in a month where she spends a minimum of 5 minutes browsing through the latest arrivals. And if she happens to visit your store in Manhattan for the first time, where the staff does not recognize her, she can still be treated as the valued customer she is.
Using information such as footfall, the type of mobile device carried, demographic information and more, analytics can help retail managers segment their market for a better understanding of which factors drive sales.
2. Engaging With Customers
Knowing more about your customer can be a great tool, but without personalized engagement, you will not reap the full benefits. For example, by sending offers to a customer’s phone as he passes by a particular product he is likely interested in is a relevant way of customer engagement.
A WiFi Analytics solutions is typically versatile enough to let retail store managers design effective in-store marketing campaigns by defining rules. For instance, you may program your location analytics platform to provide a product recommendation to anyone who spends more than 5 minutes in a certain section of the store, or send a discount coupon or remind him to join your loyalty program. Similar messages can be triggered if a customer visits your store more than 5 times in a month. These offers can be time-sensitive (i.e. expire within a reasonable period of time), further enhancing conversion rates.
The nature of these routes to engagement is limited only by the user’s ingenuity. For instance, a person who has spent more than an hour shopping may be feeling thirsty – sending him a voucher for a free coffee would be an excellent example of effective customer engagement.
3. Providing an Integrated Shopping Experience
Customer engagement need not be confined to the messages visitors receive in-store. Should analytics indicate that a customer is interested in an item – either from his physical or online behavior – but hasn’t yet bought it, a targeted email can be sent to help close the sale.
The future of retail will involve blending the physical and digital experiences, not to mention effectively integrating numerous sources of data on customer behavior – location analytics, CRM, web analytics, loyalty programs and more. Although doing this well typically requires expert help, the results can be nothing short of radical. The understanding you will gain of consumer behavior will enable the development of completely new, data-driven marketing tactics and strategies.
What prompts people to shop online? What are the distinguishing characteristics between someone who makes a purchase and those who just browse through the shelves? While questions such as these could formerly be answered only through conjecture or expensive research, analytics can now identify patterns and trends virtually automatically.
4. Identifying new Sales Opportunities
Segmenting customers based on behavior and characteristics will often reveal unexpected relationships and unmet needs. This can have a direct bearing on inventory and marketing decisions.
The factors that influence consumer demands and trends are many and complex, so that the easiest way to identify them is not prediction but direct observation using an in-store WiFi analytics platform. For instance, you may discover that sales of some product line correlate strongly with weather conditions, even though the relationship is difficult to explain. Armed with this information, inventory decisions can be adjusted accordingly.
5. Optimizing In-Store Operations
In an environment which is not only competitive but where small things can make huge differences in outcomes, any improvement in efficiency is worth pursuing. Being able to visualize the patterns and density of foot traffic in a store can contribute to better planning regarding staffing levels, floor layout and more. Location analytics can be used to:
- Record typical movement patterns for use as a benchmark,
- Visualize the in-store sales funnel from the front entrance to the checkout area,
- Improve store layout and product location to get the most out of the available space,
- Relocate various elements in order to guide traffic to areas of less footfall,
- Quantify and improve the street capture rate by determining how many passersby enter the store.
While the contribution of each of these measures might seem marginal, being able to access all of the necessary information on one analytics platform can quickly add up to significant improvements in sales conversion rates and the bottom line.
6. Empowering Floor Staff
Bizarrely, a study conducted by Motorola indicates that 61% of shoppers believe that they are better informed than the shop assistants who are supposed to be serving them.
Particularly when it comes to high-ticket items, the modern shopper is likely to have researched the product thoroughly before heading out to make a purchase, including reading user reviews, comparing prices and checking availability. By the time they enter a store, they may well be more knowledgeable on that one product than a store employee who has to keep track of dozens.
For the price of a few tablets, this characteristic of the connected customer can actually work in traditional retailers’ favor. By using an in-store analytics platform, your front-line staff will be able to quickly research the answers to obscure questions, view the purchasing history of individual customers, see cross-selling opportunities in real time, instantly know what products are in stock and even confirm the physical location of items.
One example of how this was done effectively can be found at Levolor Blinds and Shades. This company introduced a digital product advisor in several stores to help sales staff and customers find the best option out of a range of broadly similar products that differed in aspects such as color and styling. In this way, advice to customers is also more consistent regardless of which team member is assisting them.
In-Store Location Analytics: The Most Rational Investment in Growth
Data and location analytics are driving the growth in retail. Instead of using informed guesswork to determine how and why customers shop the way they do, this can now be assessed as a reliable, quantifiable metric. Instead of advertising to the public in general and hoping for a positive result, it is now possible to target individual customers with the offers they are most likely to find relevant. While the basic principles of retail sales are unlikely to change, analytics allow these to be applied in a far more granular fashion: providing each customer with what they require, based on all available sources of information.
Customer acquisition and in-store engagement is quickly becoming a mandate in the retail industry. If you haven’t implemented a WiFi Analytics Platform at your store yet, you can start by finding out where you are in your LBS journey.
LOOKING FOR AN ADVANCED IN STORE ANALYTICS AND CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM?
Our latest offering Proximity MX helps retailers gain actionable insights on customer behavior at store using existing WiFi or Beacon infrastructure. Request for a free demo by clicking the below button to learn how Proximity MX can help you gain customer insights and engage with them real-time in store.