Retail’s Black Hole – what’s really going on inside stores?

 

 

 

Competition from data rich ecommerce is forcing bricks and mortar retailers to adapt or die. In order to prosper, high street retailers need to understand what’s really going on inside their stores. Online shoppers’ behaviour is closely scrutinised and constantly monitored. As soon as a shopper logs on to an e-commerce website ads pop up and follow them around as they make their shopping journey and beyond.Meanwhile in the real world, retailer and brand owners are frantically playing catch up.  They have traditionally relied on EPOS data to tell them what shoppers are buying. EPOS data only gives a fraction of the picture though and doesn’t answer two of the key questions that are pivotal to analysing shopper behaviour, namely where are shoppers going and what are they doing?

For example, they can’t tell you that most shoppers who browse whisky, don’t actually buy it.  Nor can they reveal the shoppers lost at  lunchtime as the store is uncomfortably busy and queues are too long.

A recent SRI project focusing on the cereal aisle is a prime example of how using behavioural analytics is the only way for retailers to get a true understanding of what’s going on inside stores.  It revealed that only 42% of shoppers who enter the store actually go down the cereal aisle.  Of those, 43% do not even stop and browse and 26% browsed the petfood on the other side of the aisle. Therefore, only 13% of shoppers actively engaged with cereal.  This worryingly low numbers surely tells retailers and brand owners alike that they need to do more to attract and entice shoppers in to their categories.

Real-world insights are essential to gain a deeper understanding of the kind of experiences customers want, to maximise revenue within stores by using space and layout effectively. Retailers who have been watching closely and moving strategically to stay ahead of consumer expectations are thriving. Behavioural analytics are crucial in helping them understand customers’ wants and needs to maintain and increase wallet share.

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The draw of the store

Although the growth in on-line sales is unquestionable, that’s not a reason for retailers or manufacturers to take their eye off the ball with Bricks & Mortar.

In the UK a mere 4.4% of grocery sales are on-line and the IGD predicts that this will rise to 8.9% by 2019. OK that’s strong growth but it still leaves over 90% of sales to be accounted for by physical stores. (more…)

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