As the retail landscape adapts to ever-changing consumer behaviour, it’s no surprise that shopper traffic has become a crucial point of reference, one that retailers really can’t afford to miss. In an exclusive article for Retail Bulletin’s Future of Retail report, Amit Patil, Global Leader of Data Innovation Strategies at Tyco Retail Solutions, explains why this is the case, and how leading retailers are forging ahead with data and insight-driven strategies, thereby making strides toward future-proofing their businesses.
Traffic gives a picture of true demand
Knowing how many people have come into a store, how long they stayed, and whether they made purchases is the key to understanding the sales opportunities that a retail business generates day-to-day. Sales data only tells part of the story.
In his article, Amit explores how state-of-the-art traffic measuring tools and analytics software enable retailers to make data-backed judgments on what is driving traffic and conversions in stores, when visitor peaks will come, and what shopper trends should be acted upon to boost efficiency and conversions. People counting and tracking is possible with strategically installed sensors and cameras in stores and shopping centres. The data collected can be used to inform store strategies — from enhancing layouts to improving marketing campaigns, and optimising visual merchandising and staffing.
Additional data sets complete the picture
This is an exciting time in retail, as the new era of blending online and offline insights is providing retailers with a much richer understanding of customers’ demands. Amit says: “Now in a world where retailers have access to many additional sources of data, traffic data can be used even more strategically — for building a truly holistic view of shopper behaviour.”
Amit explores how retailers can build a 360-degree view of shopper needs across multiple sales channels, thanks to the integration of multiple data sets. For instance, ShopperTrak’s recently developed partnerships enable the merging of traffic data with various kinds of third-party data – e.g., social media-generated demographic data, online traffic data, web analytics, weather forecasting, and sales and labour data.
He sees this new level of data insight as a powerful driver of business performance. “With the right understanding of how to process and analyse these data sets, retailers are building out insights that will help them understand customers better, predict their behaviour more accurately, and improve both the customer experience, and profitability,” he says.
Amit envisages a future where RFID product tagging data and face recognition technology will also play a part in informing retailers of what customers want and how they choose to shop. However, he warns that strong buy-in from executive teams will be essential to the achievement of goals, and that a data-driven strategy must be embedded across the retail organization, in order to get the very best results.