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Leveling The Retail Analytics Playing Field

  • Written by  Anna Arwidi, Axis Communications

0aaAnna Arwidi Axis 1Data is increasingly at the heart of every business. The ability to collect, analyze and derive actionable insights from multiple sources of data in real time can be the difference between winning a customer or seeing them captured by the competition. And retail is no exception.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have, in the past, failed to keep pace with their e-Commerce rivals in the capture and use of data to optimize the customer experience. While digital visitors to an online retailer’s web site can be tracked, analyzed and influenced throughout their journey from site entry to sale, retailers in the real world have struggled to source the same level of analytics from entry into the store to the checkout. However, that could be changing.

Analyzing Customer Behavior In-Store

Retail analytics software integrated into network cameras can give physical retailers the same, directly comparable data that is available to its online counterparts, with the advantage that they can enhance the physical retail environment and experience to increase rates of sales conversion.

For example, one of the fundamental measures of success for an e-Commerce web site is traffic. In the physical world this would be visitor footfall. With the relatively simple solution of using a camera equipped with people-counting analytics, store visitors can be recorded as they come through the door. Our ‘traffic’ numbers have been captured.

Next, the user journey. Again, analytics combined with network cameras will allow retailers to see the customer’s journey through the physical store, highlighting where they pause, which point of sale displays capture their attention or, just as critically, don’t. Again, a direct comparison with online analytics shows how the ‘user journey’ in the physical environment can be optimized. Video displays and even audio announcements in the physical retail environment can then be used to entice customers to buy, in the same way that pop-up banners and tailored ads are used online.

If someone is displaying behavior that online retailers identify as a blocker to them checking out their basket, such as when they can see that customers are stuck, confused or need clarification about a product, they offer live chat functionality to help solve the issue. This is often delivered through automated bot rather than a real customer service professional as it would be in a physical store. The high street retailer that can send a real person to guide a confused shopper has a clear advantage here by being able to be flexible with the customer’s needs and potentially even upsell during the interaction.

Finally, an area of e-Commerce that we’re all very familiar with: basket abandonments. Customers have been through the journey, added items to their virtual basket but, for one reason or another, decide not to check out and buy. In the real world, one of the principles drivers of basket abandonment (often in a very real sense) are long queues at the checkout. With queue monitoring software, retailers can react to growing queues and wait times, bringing staff to checkouts and opening more tills to alleviate the pressure and, as a result, close more sales.

The playing field between online and offline retail analytics is truly being levelled. How are you planning to take advantage?

Anna Arwidi joined Axis Communications in 2016 through the acquisition of Cognimatics AB. As Business Development Manager, Retail Solutions, Arwidi works closely with Axis sales regions and customers, with a focus on retail analytics. Like most people she considers queuing a necessary evil, whereas good customer service makes her heart sing. She admits to occasionally shopping online, but feels strongly that brick-and-mortar store aesthetics and tailored marketing offer a more satisfying shopping experience.

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