Every day, shoppers browse your store aisles or perhaps your products displayed in-store. But, how much do you know about what happens while they’re there? Are you capturing the insights you need to drive sales in tomorrow’s stores?

Applying Online Concepts

For online stores, analytics are essential to increasing conversions. Today’s websites have advanced tools like Google analytics, which retailers can use to see where shoppers came from, what links they clicked once they arrived, and even their mouse movements as they viewed each page. But being able to monitor shopper behavior is only part of the process. Savvy online players put this information to use, adjusting product assortment and website layouts in real-time as well to hyper-target their email marketing campaigns and social media efforts.

Insights are no less important in an in-store environment. According to a study from Cisco, businesses that can turn insights into value in an agile manner can boost profits by 15.6 percent. Today manual processes and technology are being replaced with real-time insight. Thanks to IoT sensor technologies, retailers and brands are moving beyond relying solely on POS data. They’re collecting the same kind of shopper behavior data being gathered online—everything from basic foot traffic to granular insights on how many people walk by a specific category/display/product, what they pay attention to, how long they dwell, what products they interact with, and more, can all be anonymously analyzed to optimize shopper conversion.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

To illustrate how even the smallest improvement can make a difference in revenue, let’s look a scenario. For both stores let’s assume we’re looking at a category for a retailer or a product for a brand. Do you know in which store the category or product is more successful?

A actually looks like it’s more successful.
But, here’s what happens when we look closer…

This is where looks can be deceiving. A store can be packed each day, with shoppers streaming in and out. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that store is successful. A less busy store down the street may have higher shopper conversion rates for that category or brand and therefore be more successful, despite lower shopper traffic. Driving more shopper traffic won’t help a store or brand survive, if the levers retailers and brands are using aren’t converting shoppers. The key is being able to measure and control the various in-store levers to optimize conversion across the store. Even a slight change can have dramatic effects.

Using In-Store Analytics

To put the data they gather to use, brick-and-mortar retailers and brands must invest in techniques similar to their online counterparts. This means moving away from time-lagged data and shopper labs that aren’t equipped for the real world and its constantly changing shoppers. This also means real-time, live store testing by the day/hour, and having the insight needed to make adjustments not weeks or months later, but right now. How?

Both brands and retailers can apply in-store analytics in many ways. For example, retailers can increase revenue per square foot by easily testing and improving category or merchandising performance, identifying best placements to optimize cross-selling, allocating sales staff in real-time and targeting shopper segments based on demographic and persona profiles. Likewise, brands can quickly become category captains. In real-time, they can see whether they are getting the traffic and shopper segments they expect, test and improve display performance, and see whether packaging is catching attention.

As foot traffic continues to decline, it’s becoming more critical than ever to optimize conversion on every shopper visit in-store. By applying techniques they’ve learned online, retailers and brands can start driving shopper behavior and revenue generating change in-store.