By Tim Callan, timcallan.blogspot.com
With store closures and falling revenue threatening major retail chains, maximizing store productivity is more important than ever before. While it’s been proven for many years that website analytics can drive dramatic improvement in online retail environments, so far most brick-and-mortar retailers are engaged in only rudimentary measurement.
E-commerce analytics help merchants discover the best user experience for shoppers, such as the design choices that make it easiest for shoppers to select and qualify the products they want to purchase. This analysis reveals upselling practices and other opportunities to increase the average ticket value at purchase time. It also facilitates customer affinity, increasing the number and frequency of return shopping trips. The bottom line is that online analytics discover and remove obstacles to purchase and lead to a more favorable shopping experience.
This invites the question of why these practices are so ubiquitous in online retail environments and yet so absent from many brick-and-mortar retailers.
Marketing consultant Alex Goldfayn recently prescribed a six-point plan to improve Best Buy’s outlook. While “better store layouts” and “better blue shirts” are thought provoking ideas with good potential, I’d like to propose a strong seventh plank in Goldfayn’s performance enhancing platform: In-Store Analytics.
Just as web analytics can mean the difference between profit and loss for online retailers, so too can in-store analytics tip the scales for physical retail chains. By combining sources such as the store’s point-of-sale system, in-store video feeds from those ubiquitous ceiling cameras, time and staffing software, RFID tags, Wi-Fi trackers, intelligent shelf pushers, and more, a robust in-store analytics installation should measure on the order of 10,000 data points per store visitor.
The resulting insights c