Is brick & mortar ready to leverage in-store shopper data?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Mark Heckman Consulting blog.
Much of the growth of Amazon.com and other e-tailers can be traced to their ability to leverage the plethora of shopper behavior data that e-commerce sites yield to create an increasingly efficient, customized shopping experience. Such has not been the case for physical retail facilities.
Unlike their online counterparts, among other critical customer data, traditional retailers do not, on a regular basis, track the time spent in-store by the shopper or how shoppers engage (or not) in their merchandising efforts.
Yet affordable and practical techniques now exist to provide retailers all the information they need to measure in-store shopper efficiency.
Traffic counters with clocks provide the time shoppers spend in the store, from the moment they enter to the time they leave. Personal observational techniques can be used to create a comprehensive shopper map that includes density of shoppers, their directional flow within the store, the time they spend in each area of the store, as well as their gender and the direction they are facing. Coupled with compatible transaction logs from the retailer’s POS system, this information can yield important diagnostics as to the efficacy of the store layout and design and the critical merchandising plan within the physical store.
Part of the disconnect is that, while most retailers manage their business at the category level, customers shop at the item level. The faster the items they are looking for is found, the more likely they are to have the time to impulse purchase unplanned items.
Accordingly, it is incumbent upon category-organized retailers to better understand how and where those categories are merchandised in their stores. The shopper centricity of a category can be defined on two distinct levels:
- Shopper Exposure: What percentage of shoppers actually travel by the category in the store?
- Purchase Conversion: Once a shopper ventures by a category, at what rate do they slow down to browse and actually shop? And most importantly, at what rate do shoppers actually put an item in the basket and make a purchase?
Scoring each of a retailer’s critical categories with exposure and conversion rates is vital to truly unleash the potential of category.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see brick & mortar stores eventually leveraging in-store shopper data to the degree that e-commerce sites capitalize on browser data? Will increased efforts at in-store shopper data collection enhance or significantly alter category management efforts?