While 2020 was arguably one of the most difficult years for many brands across Australia, it also quickened the pace of transformation in the retail sector more broadly. Businesses that weren’t online yet quickly got their e-commerce store up and running, while websites that didn’t offer click-and-collect or delivery added the features in order to remain relevant for a changing consumer behaviour.
However, now that the dust has (mostly) settled and bricks-and-mortar trading is back on the cards, it’s important for brands to not take their foot off the gas – their instore offer needs to be improved as well.
“The really critical thing is that brands need to transform, particularly in the customer experience space,” said RetailMotion managing director Wade Beach.
And, according to Beach, there are a number of things businesses can do to take their instore customer experience to a whole new level: and it all starts with data.
Bridging the gap between online and offline
The age of wading through customer analytics in order to improve a brand’s trading outcome is well and truly here, Beach said, and is not as out of reach for most small to medium businesses as it first appears.
Most companies that take customer information tend to receive the data and store it away somewhere – without necessarily tying it to the person instore. This is much easier online, where customers can be required to login to a website before many features are able to be used, but in a store, there has been little you can do to find out if someone browsing products has been to the store before and how this behaviour correlates to their buying decisions.
“There’s an incredible chasm between the online world and the bricks-and-mortar world, and that’s where retail analytics can play an incredible part in informing the retailer what’s happening in their stores,” Beach said.
“You need to know with data. And it’s never been more affordable to put state-of-the-art technology into small and medium retail stores. And this isn’t like the old days where it could take you 18 months to two years to get the hardware in – this is a few simple pieces of hardware, a great platform, and someone who knows what they’re doing and it can be done in three or four weeks.”
The technology is as simple as small cameras that are fastened to the store’s roof, and can be connected to a data management software which provides extensive information around how customers are shopping instore, how promotions are driving traffic, and can even help prevent loss and maintain inventory.
Reaching customers when they want to shop
These pieces of hardware can also be used to better market to customers. When customers enter a store, a 3D Sensor can potentially pick up that customer’s phone URL (uniform resource locator), which could allow a brand to deliver marketing messages directly to their email, or include them into a SMS marketing campaign.
“You can use retail analytics to help serve up more relevant offers for people who are in the store, or looking at things online,” said Beach.
And, the effectiveness of these promotions can be measured with ease due to the fact that if that customer returns to the store after receiving the marketing, the data will show it.
The key to all of this is in the data management software, Beach said.
With 3D stereoscopic cameras set up throughout a business’ stores, an executive can access a network-wide representation of how each store is trading from their phone or tablet, and can compare them to one another, find out what’s working in the store’s that are trading up and make recommendations to the stores that are trading down.
“Everything’s relayed around this one central piece of data, which is the dashboard that everyone can see different levels of information – from the CEO to the store staff,” Beach said.
If you are interested in getting in touch with RetailMotion to discuss transforming your retail stores using data analytics, feel free to visit their website and complete a project form here.