In-Store Analytics for Retail
Every industry has its buzzwords and phrases which become extremely popular and trend for several months before inevitably being shot down by a Senior Executive for PR reasons or perhaps by Business Development in order to reshape the industry’s understanding of a particular problem.
- ‘Multi-Channel Retailing’;
- ‘Omni-Channel Retailing’;
- ‘In-Store Analytics’;
- ‘Customer Experience’; and
- ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ are amongst the most popular buzz phrases we see saturating the retail blogosphere.
These are all well-intentioned phrases, which shed light on some important aspects of the effective retail process and have the potential to transform the way the sector operates. In almost all cases, commentators signal the importance of technology as a key enabler of this transformation towards so-called ‘Omni Channel Retailing’ often thought to provide better Customer Experience (CX) than previously achievable.
Indoor positioning technology solutions can enable retail centres & stores to close the loop on the path-to-purchase by tracking customers in the store (as well as opening a range of other new possibilities). Very simplistically indoor positioning consists of hardware for detecting/interacting with smartphones and positioning software that can interpret Beacon signals and produce In-Store Analytics.
As part of my work with YouTeam, I have been tracking how software development outsourcing services are delivered in this emergent marketplace with great interest and feel that 2016 will be the year that meaningful solutions will begin to significantly transform retail.
If you own or manage a retail centre or outlet and are considering indoor positioning solutions then there are some important principles to keep in mind:
1. Don’t bite off more technology than you can chew
By this I mean rather than sinking millions into a comprehensive solution for your retail environment consider narrowing the focus to the minimum technology which will have a measurable impact. The first step for many retailers will be having the ability to track customers via ‘wifi sniffing’ (or similar tech) to produce actionable in-store analytics, like heat maps, storefront conversion rates, dwell times etc.
Once you have the retail analytics software set up properly, this will enable you to make data-driven decisions about which strategies need to change, and reveal the second lowest hanging fruit on your path to technological enablement. This could be to integrate your e-commerce site with your bricks-and-mortar site to have one, cohesive, integrated view of how your marketing strategy is performing across all channels. This second step will get you another step closer to providing a more consistent customer experience across all channels, which is a key objective of Omni-Channel Retailing.
Rather than sinking millions into a comprehensive solution for your retail environment consider narrowing the focus to the minimum technology which will have a measurable impact.Click to tweet
2. There is no one size fits all for Indoor Positioning or In-Store Analytics
Different types of retailers will have different product ranges, different customer segments, therefore, have different marketing strategies and technology requirements. Unfortunately, there are no off-the-shelf solutions which take this into consideration. The process to adopt the best technological solution for your retail environment will be iterative! This is in agreement with the principles of Lean Development.
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3. Software Integration Process
Taking a Lean Development approach will mean that the implementation process will involve not only a ‘Core Technology Provider’ i.e. Leantegra but also a ‘Software Integration’ firm i.e. Innate Positioning.
The role of the integration firm will be to:
- Customise the software to match the business needs of the Retailer / Retail Centre by understanding which In-Store Analytics are most relevant
- Provide Product Management Consultancy
- Assist will Customer Acquisition Strategy (if required)
- Assist with Digital Marketing Strategy (if required)
A great deal of thought has been given to this operating model and it is considered to be the most efficient for all involved.