Apr 27 2015
What Year Is It Again?
For many chain retailers, not a whole lot has changed since the very first big box retail outlet opened its doors many years ago. Store managers continue to cruise the aisles in an attempt to gather intelligence on their inventory levels, either using the old-school method of eyeballing shelves or methodically writing down stock levels shelf-by-shelf, aisle-by-aisle. For some retailers, archaic marketing techniques are still being trusted with no concrete proof that these “tried-and-true” strategies are working for the twenty-first century consumer. And all the while, retail businesses continue to base critical marketing decisions on top line results without ever truly understanding the independent variables that are driving their success.
Conversely, online stores continue to open their virtual doors at an alarming pace, and physical retail outlets are really beginning to feel the pressure. Making matters worse for brick and mortar retailers is the sophisticated software that is available to these “e-tailers.” With the click of a mouse, online stores can predict and determine what they should be selling, how they should be selling it, and to whom. Fortunately, physical stores now have access to that same level of insight with the arrival of brick and mortar analytical software platforms.
Exciting New Developments for Brick and Mortar Analytics
Before the cloud computing boom of the mid-2000’s, most brick and mortar stores didn’t have the opportunity to capitalize on advanced data that provided insight on their customers and their shopping behavior. But thanks to today’s cloud technology and the seemingly endless scope offered by cloud-based analytical platforms, physical retailers are now joining the digital age to take back market share from the ever growing e-commerce threat. Some of these new tech-enabled developments include:
- Heat mapping
- Facial expression detection
- RFID-equipped staff members
- Detailed POS analytics derived through transactional data
Heat mapping, for example, allows a company to see exactly where people are stopping in-store and identify the high traffic areas that attract the most shoppers. This not only indicates which products (or areas of the store) are of greatest interest to customers, but it can also provide clues as to where product displays should be situated to maximize sales. Furthermore, studies have shown that merely handling an item increases the chance of closing a sale, so it is most certainly in the best interests of both the retailer and product supplier to be able to map and track this valuable customer information.
In the same vein, heat mapping technology can track “events” during a shopper’s trip throughout the store. This technology allows one to see where consumers stop, for how long, and tie it to the point of sale records from a retailer’s cash registers. For those familiar with online conversion tracking, you’ll recognize that this process is very similar to the funnel analysis that nearly every e-commerce or SaaS provider tracks in an attempt to optimize the online path-to-purchase. Thanks to revolutionary point of sale analytics software, brick and mortar retailers are now able to take raw data and provide store managers with detailed SKU level metrics that empower management with better information to fully understand their customers and the products they purchase. Furthermore, this software can seamlessly measure sales velocity for each individual SKU to create a demand signal repository to reduce inventory costs and maximize on-shelf availability.
Painting Retailers a Complete Picture
Brick and mortar analytics allow retailers to optimize various aspects of their business, including:
* Marketing and Merchandising: Brick and mortar analytics provide retailers with in-depth customer insight, allowing them to create more targeted marketing and merchandising plans across all channels of their business.
* Operations: Businesses discover new and sustainable ways of improving business efficiency by taking a fact-based approach and applying it across their entire operations, from point of distribution to point of sale. This includes structure, staff, processes, and tools.
* Supply Chain and Inventory: It’s never been easier for retailers to get the right products into the right stores, with the crystal clear visibility to key metrics such as sell-through rates and inventory turnover.
Through superior insight and the ability to draw correlations within transactional data, the physical retailers of today are now able to effectively compete against their online counterparts. Best of all, this software can be used by suppliers as well, leading to a more collaborative approach to maximizing sales and driving performance from product to product, and store to store.
If you are a forward-thinking retail business leader who understands how data empowers your growth, speak to us today about turning your valuable store-level transactional data into meaningful business improvements. The Askuity software platform can start providing insights from your data in just weeks, allowing you and your entire supplier base to translate your ‘big data’ into big opportunities.