With Black Friday only just in retailers’ rear-view, they will be looking for new ways to develop a customer-led strategy that will drive purchases and customer satisfaction in equal measure. Nigel Ashman, President of ONVU Retail, looks at getting the most out of in-store analytics.
With Black Friday only just in retailers’ rear-view, they will be looking for new ways to develop a customer-led strategy that will drive purchases and customer satisfaction in equal measure.
A recent combined survey by Google and Kantar into customer experience suggested that British online consumers are more likely to stay loyal to their regularly visited webpages as long as their standards are constantly met. Often, this is down to the increased personalisation and functionality of a website in comparison to its competitors, and thus high-street retailers are using this as inspiration to adapt to consumer demands.
The adoption of data analytics is playing a pivotal role in the continuous growth of many industries across the UK, and retail is ripe for mass disruption from this technology. The integration of smart technologies must be at the forefront for retailers looking to re-energise their shop floor in order to learn from and understand their customers better.
One particular technology that is making a breakthrough is smart video. Retailers are looking to leverage this cutting-edge technology in a bid to get a better perspective on operations, both on the shop floor and in the back-end. The technology has the ability to transform the opinions of management, both on a singular and group level. Factors such as POS placement have the ability to be optimised, allowing stores to recognise where customers are interacting with certain in-store advertisements or products. In essence, this allows store managers to divert/re-distribute the traffic flow of customers in one place, and correctly allocate staff to the appropriate areas of the store to ensure customers’ needs are met.
In turn, this increases the likelihood that customers will make purchases. The goal of the insights is to use these to see how customers interact with various parts of the store and make changes to the way the store is run in order to better cater to these customers.
Smart video is not the only way in which traditional retailers are aiming to close the gap with online shops. Retailers such as NEXT & John Lewis have begun integrating collection points from third party online retailers within their stores. This collaboration with online brands allows them to take advantage of consumers who are already engaged with purchasing new products.
This approach to encourage new purchases also amplifies the importance of correct product/staff placement in order to ensure that customers interests are piqued and treated quickly and accordingly.
The emergence of Direct-to-Consumers (DTC) stores have led high-street retailers and suppliers to look for fresh ways to encourage repeat purchases through innovative methods and an increased concentration on customer service. This has seen a number of retailers use smart display boards as a way of showing customers the range of products they have, as well as engaging them with products that they may not necessarily have been looking for. This is an especially applicable sales method as stores look to cater to the digital native generation that tend to use retail outlets the most (16-30).
As part of their constant efforts to upkeep with modern trends and consumer habits, stores have turned to AR & VR technology in order to harvest consumer data and gain a better understanding of how today’s physical retail experience must alter in order to engage new consumers. The integration of these technologies is proof of this change, however the gimmicky presence of these technologies has not always represented good value when looking for customer-led insights. Data from the International Data Company (IDC) suggests that retailers are set to spend £1.15bn on AR and VR technology in 2020, with a notable change in focus from the technological benefits to the use of this to inform measurable business outcomes including productivity, knowledge transfer and more engaging customer experiences.
Physical retailers must do more to replicate the tailored service that online retailers naturally provide. They must continue to partner with retail technology vendors in order to harness the wealth of useful information at their disposal, putting innovative technology and practices at the forefront of stores’ efforts to gain insights into the way their customers shop. This tailored approach will allow retailers to really work for their customers and create a customer service approach that will see customers wanting to come back into the store. Similarly, the presence of these technologies also aids with other in-store factors such as loss prevention (offering the ability to look back at footage and get full overview of situations, fluidly), POS positioning (seeing how customers interact with advertisements and analysing customer engagement with bestsellers etc.), and more.
A fully integrated technology approach can help the business on both a store and group level, and companies such as Schuh are using this as a way of setting KPIs based on the insights taken from the last week/month.
By Nigel Ashman