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How to capture today’s post-pandemic customer

Beautiful woman shopping for clothes at retail apparel shop in the shopping mall. Modern trade lifestyle.

From panic buying to the continuing rise of online retail during the peak of the pandemic, the rule book on customer behaviour has officially been thrown out.

In just a few months, people’s shopping patterns, habits and behaviours have vastly changed and now that stores are finally reopening, retailers need to almost reacquaint themselves with their customers and understand how to respond to their changing needs. 

In-store analytics are an effective way to track foot traffic, work out what products customers are looking for and where they’re shopping right now. Here are four ways that retailers can use analytics to tap into the new customer – now and after the pandemic is over.

Monitor staff levels

It’s no secret that all businesses are tightening their purse strings right now and working out what staff they need on their shopfloor now, especially as some may need extra team members to manage social distancing restrictions. At the same time, traditional peak shopping times have changed, as more Australians are working from home and shopping mid-week rather than just on the weekend.

“If retailers have a clearer view of the expected number of customers and when sales are likely to take place, it enables them to manage their staff rostering in a more effective way during the day,” explains Alex Tweddle, head of sales at WingArc Australia

“One of the interesting patterns we’ve seen in the data as lockdown has eased is that while foot traffic has been slower to recover, sales have recovered much more rapidly. This suggests that the shoppers who have returned so far are more focussed on buying rather than just browsing.”

Manage product and stock levels

During the lockdown, when people began working from home in their trackie daks, foregoing corporate attire, product categories such as loungewear and activewear began shooting through the roof. Other sectors saw a shift in sales product categories such as home renovation, books and toys. Heatmapping is a quick and easy way to view the areas customers are spending most of their time in your stores.

“It gives the retailer the opportunity to change the layout and the way they set up their product displays. The products in those locations may not be the right ones for the customer base at a particular time,” says Tweddle. 

“It gives retailers evidence to supplement what they’re seeing in sales to understand if there are other reasons why their customers aren’t purchasing those products.”

Track the effectiveness of campaigns

Similarly, in-store analytics can also help retailers work out which campaigns customers are most drawn to. Traditionally, you may have judged the effectiveness of a  campaign or offer purely through its number of sales.

“What you won’t necessarily see is what impact that has had on attracting more or new customers into the store. If you have an added understanding of the incremental number of customers you’ve attracted and used that in conjunction with sales, it would give you a clearer view as to whether the campaign has been successful,” explained Tweddle.

“You may have missed out on sales, even though you’ve attracted more customers in-store. It gives you an all-round view as to what the level of success is.” 

Make informed site decisions

As a result of the pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk of retailers requesting rental relief from landlords, while others are reassessing their store networks and considering closing their stores in certain locations. Analysing foot traffic can help inform those decisions and discussions. 

“If you have rented a particular location based on a certain market and you can demonstrate that you’re not seeing that level of foot traffic to justify the rent, that gives you empirical evidence to put forward when you have the next leasing discussion with your landlord,” says Tweddle.  

To find out more about WingArc’s in-store retail analytics solution, and start a trial, click here.

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