Understanding your customers behavior, preferences and needs optimizes your store performance – giving you a competitive edge.
How many potential customers visit your retail store in a day? How many makes a purchase? How do they move when in the store? What areas do they spend the most time in? How long do they stay? What are your busiest operating hours? How long are the queues? Are you well staffed at all times? How is your customer experience?
The key to operating a successful retail store in 2019 is knowledge – and understanding customer patterns, behavior, preferences, wants and needs.
In order to stay profitable and competitive in a market where online shopping is grasping a larger and larger piece of the pie, brick-and-mortar retail stores should optimize their standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure a great customer experience and high customer satisfaction.
By utilizing retail analytics, you gain access to a wealth of valuable data and insight that allows you to analyze, modify and improve store performance and customer experience – which in term leads to increased sales and better profitability.
The online shopping challenge
Few industries have been as greatly affected by the Internet revolution as the retail industry. In just the last couple of decades, online shopping has had an explosive impact in the retail market, shaking the core foundation of an industry whose roots stretches back thousands of years.
Online shopping gives consumers more options, more information, easy access to thousands of products and instant gratification – all without leaving their home. And yet, studies have shown that many consumers still prefer physical stores when purchasing the majority of products.
With its rapid development of new and innovative technologies, the Internet era has completely changed the customer journey, forcing the retail industry to tackle and overcome a range of new and imposing challenges. And while some attribute the so-called “retail apocalypse” to the rise of online shopping, others believe that department stores and brick-and-mortar stores may thrive in this new landscape.
These technological advances do not only bring with them new challenges, after all, but also new opportunities.
Optimizing your store performance
One such opportunity is retail analytics. Modern retail analytics solutions offer a wide variety of data analysis options. At an enterprise level, typical areas where retailers analyze data include predictive analysis, marketing optimization, enterprise decision management, web analytics, credit risk analysis and fraud analytics.
However, if your goal is in-store performance and customer experience optimization, it may be more beneficial to monitor the actual physical space within your store and collect data using a network of surveillance cameras.
The camera network, combined with a compatible data analysis software solution, enables you to take advantage of multiple resourceful features, such as:
- People counting
- Occupancy estimation
- Queue monitoring
By implementing these features, you can count, measure and track visitors in order to ensure that your store runs efficiently – and that your customers have a positive experience.
Monitor customer flow with people counting
People counting software provides data on the number of visitors entering and leaving your store, customer flow and traffic trends.
A ceiling-mounted network camera, located above the entrance, functions as a highly advanced sensor that collects and transmits data to the software for analysis. The system enables automatic two-way counting of people passing underneath the camera in real-time, registering people entering and leaving the store.
People counting systems can assist you with:
- Accurately and reliably counting your visitors
- Analyzing customer flow and traffic trends
- Improving your staff and store planning
- Determining optimal opening hours
- Evaluating and assessing the impact of advertising, promotions, weather etc.
When integrated with your Point-of-Sale (PoS) system, the software can also collect and provide information on conversion rates that may prove valuable when making critical business decisions.
Calculate average visit time with occupancy estimation
Working in tandem with the people counting software, an occupancy estimation system provides data and information can give you real-time indications on the amount of people in your store, or in a specific section or area, and calculate the average visit time.
Occupancy estimation software runs embedded in ceiling-mounted network cameras installed above the entrances and exits of designated areas in your store. A master camera controls and collects the data from other cameras in the network to provide a complete picture of the occupancy level.
Occupancy estimation systems can assist you with:
- Analyzing occupancy data
- Counting the number of people in a designated area
- Calculating average visit time
- Determining optimal opening hours
- Improving staff and service planning
- Ensuring adequate security and excellent service
The information collected by the system may also be used to better understand the flow of people within and between areas, improve the use of your space and identifying revenue opportunities.
Reduce customer waiting times with queue monitoring
A queue monitoring system is a valuable asset when aiming to improve customer experience, as long queues and extended waiting times may frustrate shoppers, damage their in-store experience and prompt them to leave their purchase – effectively hurting your store’s sales and profitability.
Queue monitoring software runs embedded in network cameras and can be installed near checkouts, tills, customer service desks and other store hot spots.
Queue monitoring systems can assist you with:
- Monitoring queue length in real-time
- Analyzing queuing data, e.g. queue duration and fluctuations, throughout the day
- Determining staff needs based on the day of the week and the time of day
- Shortening queues and reducing waiting times
- Improving customer experience and satisfaction
Additionally, the system allows you to specify queue thresholds that will prompt the opening of a new cash register when the number of people waiting in queue exceeds your pre-defined limit.
Improved customer experience
Monitoring and analyzing data on customer traffic, flow, patterns and behavior, average visit time, staff capacity and allocation, and queue length and time will provide you with valuable knowledge and actionable insight that will help you make the right decisions for improving your store’s performance and sales.
Because the “personal touch” is perhaps the greatest strength of the brick-and-mortar store when competing with online shopping opportunities, customer experience is paramount to your store’s profitability.
By analyzing in-store data you can anticipate and satisfy your customers wants and needs, respond to their behavior by taking action in the right place at the right time, and increase the general customer experience and satisfaction.
Additionally, the data collected can contribute to optimizing your store layout, identifying the most cost-efficient way to allocate your staff, and measuring and maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and promotions.
Choosing the right hardware
As the software used to collect and analyze your in-store data runs embedded with network cameras, choosing the right hardware is imperative.
Your network camera needs are determined by several factors, such as software and system compatibility, store size, floor plan, mounting height, coverage width and exposure to strong sunlight or other sources of picture distortion.
Hatteland Technology is an experienced provider of security and surveillance solutions for the retail industry, with extensive knowledge and expertise when it comes to assembling your optimal retail analytics solution.