In the modern world of retail, analytics and data plays a vital role in maximising the efficiency of a store while also improving the customer experience.
The process sees data about store operations provided in real time, allowing retailers to optimise pricing, improve the supply chain and inventory management, and better cater to customer loyalty.
So, let’s look at just some of the ways retailers can tap into retail analytics and improve the in-store experience.
Retail analytics explained
Although the concept of retail analytics often gets talked about in technological terms, the process and its theory are actually very simple.
Each day retailers need to stay abreast of a whole host of things in store, including inventory, sales, pricing, marketing, the supply chain, ordering, customer trends and more.
As Retalon explains, retail analytics looks to solve some of this on a retailer’s behalf, collecting and studying retail data in real time to identify trends, predict outcomes and allow retailers to make better business decisions.
“Done well, data analytics allows retailers to get more insight into the performance of their stores, products, customers, and vendors — and use that insight to grow profits,” Retalon notes.
The deepening digital divide
Many retailers use analytics in some form, whether its sales reports generated from the PoS system in real-time, or RFID inventory tracking to determine what exactly is available in-store or where products are in the supply chain.
But as the customer journey embraces additional channels, payment methods and fulfilment options, the insight into exactly what’s going on in-store becomes more critical.
In short, a focus on retail analytics helps unite what was previously siloed information in one place to paint a true, accurate and immediate picture of what’s happening instore and online right now, along with helping retailers forecast and plan for trends emerging in the immediate future.
And this focus on retail analytics is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It’s becoming a necessity for retailers looking meet the new customer expectation and manage competition in the market.
Those who do will find themselves at a distinct operational and profit advantage. Those who do not embrace retail analytics will find themselves on the wrong side of the great digital divide.
So, let’s examine just some examples of how retail analytics plays out in the sector right now, along with the tools that are available to assist.
Improved in-store efficiency
At its heart retail analytics is all about improving in-store efficiency, allowing sales associates to step away from routine mundane tasks and concentrate on selling products, providing a great customer experience and offering unrivalled insight into the products that solve their customer’s problems.
Complete visibility of store operations
Retail involves a whole lot of moving parts. At any one time there is stock on the shelf, products in the warehouse, items in the supply chain and merchandise on order.
There are also items on display, sales taking place, and customers requiring service.
Retail analytics offer complete visibility into all these moving parts in real time. They allow management to see exactly what’s occurring, from sales volume to product displays, foot traffic, inventory volumes and more.
Ultimately retail analytics and the insight they offer allow a retailer to respond in real time. They can maximise every available sales opportunity by ensuring products are on the shelf, the right number of staff are available to assist customers, products are displayed in an enticing and accessible way, and enough merchandise is in their inventory to cater to shopper demand.
Improved customer experience in-store
Together these elements create an improved customer experience both in-store and across the omnichannel retail environment. They ensure the right products are in stock and available for in-person sales and online ordering. They help anticipate sales trends and identify what customers are interested in while offering the opportunity for associates to provide first-class customer service.
The tools available
The tools that tie into the retail analytics ecosystem range from simple and easy-to-implement solutions, to overarching software that brings this data together.
So, let’s walk through just a few of the options, and how they offer all the above benefits
RFID Inventory Tracking
Cloud-based and data-driven, RFID platforms improve the speed and quality of your supply chain by providing real-time, highly accurate inventory data. Easy to use scanners enable retail staff to stocktake full stores in a fraction of the time typically taken to carry out stock counting, enabling stock records to be maintained and updated daily if required. These are paired with RFID scanners at the point of manufacture and in distribution centres, creating a network of end-to-end tools that deliver accurate management of every operational detail and complete stock transparency from production to point of sale.
RFID systems are fast and easy to implement – with roll out taking just a day per standard high street store. The plug-and-play technology is compatible with existing AM or RF EAS systems – enabling inventory counts to be paired with foot traffic data, providing exceptional insights into conversion rates by store.
InVue OneKEY offers a single access solution for secure products and displays. Each key can be programmed for a specific staff member, granting them access to designated displays, cabinets and drawers.
The connected software then tracks which staff member has accessed what area at what time, offering an insight into customer engagement, conversion rates and staff performance.
In the process, it improves operational efficiency by removing the need for multiple keys that access different cabinets.
While the above solutions cater to individual products, analytics also involves overarching systems that connect all the dots and data within a retail operation in order to improve efficiency.
One popular system to accommodate this is InVue LIVE.
The technology is designed to connect a suite of software and hardware solutions across a range of areas, including merchandising, access control, security, and operations.
The system then allows retailers to gain in-store visibility across their estate by tracking, monitoring and managing their operation in real-time.
It works by connecting with InVue hardware such as secure electronics displays to track customer interaction and security.
It also connects with other tools such as Smart keys that monitor which staff have accessed what cabinets and displays in a store, and TV Manager to track the status and planogram compliance of television displays.
Together this helps retailers understand what actions need to be taken, where to improve operational efficiency and the customer experience.
It allows them to understand planogram compliance, customer engagement and product-related information in one single software solution.
For retailers selling big-ticket items like electronics and televisions, planogram compliance is a must, as is the display of these high-value items, to ensure each separate television set is being showcased in an enticing manner to the consumer.
That’s where connected technology like TV Manager assists. The system automates the management of all displays across one or many stores, delivers real-time status alerts and reports on planogram compliance.
The technology also connects to an app so retailers can check the status of a television and operate display TVs individually or collectively through a single function.
For retailers, this offers detailed insight that they can report back to their suppliers, and also takes the hassle out of managing multiple display televisions.
For consumers, it ensures they have all potential products on display to peruse, affording them greater choice and the ability to make a well-informed decision.
You can learn more about the range of analytics tools available here.