The digital era has drastically changed the way we make transactions. The retail industry is undergoing rapid digitization wherein more physical stores are introducing their online sales platforms. With e-retailers like Amazon realizing enormous profits and seeing continual expansion, a large number of brick-and-mortar stores worldwide are working towards upping their digital game and implementing omnichannel marketing strategies to ensure business growth and stay relevant.
The fact that technology, apart from making our lives simple, has also made us slothful to some degree is beyond debate. This is one of the several reasons why e-commerce has blown up over the years. Finding a perfect product after a couple of clicks on a mobile app has become commonplace. Also, most players in the retail space today are making unremitting efforts to achieve service differentiation to attract more customers. Companies such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart are able to execute personalized marketing strategies with the help of retail analytics solutions. Now, let us have a closer look at the technological landscape in the retail space.
There is a lot more to RFID than just on-shelf inventory management. RFID can provide insights that improve the decision-making process. For instance, it improves planogramming capabilities, which is a critical skill in the retail industry. A planogram is basically a diagram, which sheds light on how and where a certain set of items should be placed in a store such that the likelihood of customers purchasing these items increases.
The information from RFID data streams lets store managers understand how products are moving within their stores. In a clothing store, for example, mining these data streams can help the manager identify specific product information: how many times a certain item type was taken to the trial rooms and how often it is purchased. This information aids in eliminating slow-moving products.
Gone are the days when physical stores only used transactional data from point-of-sale systems and numbers generated by footfall counters to improve their operations. These stores have been catching up with e-retailers that have been leveraging real-time analytics data to create personalized shopping experiences and subsequently a loyal customer base for over a decade.
Enter Wi-Fi analytics. The usage of Wi-Fi analytics in retail stores allows for location-based services (LBS), social marketing, and customer data analytics. The Wi-Fi sensors inside a retail store are capable of interacting with a customer’s Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. This is possible because Wi-Fi enabled devices, in general, continuously send out signals to find Wi-Fi networks they can connect to.
The Wi-Fi sensors in a retail store are programmed to determine the strength of these signals with respect to several parameters, especially distance. This helps in creating data sets pertaining to real-time customer behavior. Some of the critical information that can be derived from these data sets are as follows:
- Exact location of a customer
- Areas of the store that are visited the most
- Time spent by a customer at specific areas
- Order in which the store is explored by a customer
- Number of repeat visits by a customer
Retailers use this information to improve customer experience, merchandising, product performance assessment, and store layout optimization.
Retailers have been able to take strides in their marketing game with the adoption of beacons. Beacons, which are low-cost sensors operating on Bluetooth low energy, are strategically installed at important sections within a store.
Beacons allow for proximity marketing wherein customers are sent targeted messages (advertisements, discounts, coupons, etc.) based on their location in the store. Retailers can also measure the success rates of these advertisements; data pertinent to when and where a certain customer viewed a beacon message can be determined. Beacon analytics, akin to Wi-Fi analytics, helps obtain data on dwell time and visit patterns. It also gives metrics related to customer loyalty and retention.
However, the main drawback of beacon analytics is that customers need to turn on Bluetooth and have the relevant app installed on their mobile devices to receive messages from beacons.
One of the tech innovations, which has been creating waves in the retail space, is the concept of smart mirrors. These mirrors can be installed in fitting rooms at clothing stores. They are designed to improve in-store customer experiences and obtain additional customer data.
Oak Labs, a company headquartered in California, prides itself in pushing the boundaries of retail technology. The company has developed Oak Mirror, which is an interactive, touch-screen mirror that caters to customers’ shopping needs. Ralph Lauren’s Fifth Ave. store in Manhattan recently installed these mirrors, following which the engagement rate in the store increased to 90%. Watch the Oak Mirror in action here.
The advances in technology are clearly blurring the lines between physical retail and online retail in terms of customer analytics. Also, it is a given that big data analytics is a game changer in the retail industry. Analytics has been enabling enterprises in most domains to not only handle exabytes of data generated every day but also leverage this data to improve their marketing strategies and multiply profits.
BRIDGEi2i Retail Analytics: Case Study
BRIDGEi2i helped a US-based high-end fashion retailer identify high-value customers, enhance customer experience through touch point personalization, and maximize customer lifetime value. To know more, read the complete case study here.
BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. With a combination of domain expertise, advanced analytics capabilities, and technology accelerators, To know more, head over to www.bridgei2i.com