It pays to understand the customer – and today’s retailers can do so in unprecedented depth. With pandemic pressures prompting fresh approaches to bricks-and-mortar retail, Furniture News explores the fast-moving world of customer-tracking technology and the insights it can deliver …
How many shoppers entered your store today? When exactly did the bulk of them show up, and how long did they stay for? What parts of the store experienced the highest traffic?
It might seem overly fastidious, but by bringing the answers together, retailers can start to paint an accurate and up-to-date picture of their customers’ in-store behaviour. Based on these insights, they can then adjust their business model accordingly to seize any missed opportunities or cut unnecessary costs.
Perhaps there are regular dead hours during each day, in which sales staff might be more useful carrying out back-of-house tasks? Maybe that window display isn’t attracting much attention, but there’s an area towards the back of the floor that customers really find appealing? Did that online marketing campaign actually generate any physical traffic?
More than ever, retailers appreciate the value of data in shaping how they do business. For ecommerce businesses, much of this data comes naturally. Bricks-and-mortar retailers can access this information too, in greater depth than ever before – but they need a more varied toolkit to do so.
The use of customer tracking technology in stores goes back some way. Today, door-mounted counters and in-store cameras have been augmented by a wealth of intelligent sensors, able to monitor everything from customers’ mobile devices to their heat signatures (and even facial expressions).
Granted, some perceive such monitoring as invasive. But there’s a counter-argument that consumers are increasingly willing to overlook these privacy breaches if the end result is a more convenient and personalised shopping experience. When combined with transactional data, customer tracking insight gives retailers an opportunity to identify – and better respond to – their customers’ habits and demands, by creating a service that is optimised for everyone concerned.
The pandemic, and the subsequent efforts to monitor people’s movement, identify those with dangerously high body temperatures and encourage social distancing, brought a new aspect to customer tracking – and as these concerns subside, there remains a keen hunger among businesses for detailed, relevant data, delivered in real time.
The individual decisions made based on such insights may be small, but they can help deliver big results. Read this month's issue to discover what the experts – Sensormatic Solutions’ Mark King, and Peter Luff of Ipsos Retail Performance – have to say on the matter.