How Customer Analytics Can Optimize In-Store Operations

Apr 7, 2017

Sales Forecasting

Much emphasis is currently being placed on digital analytics for things such as email campaigns, site visits, referrals, and similar metrics. However, there is also a great deal that brick-and-mortar stores can gain from customer analytics. Here are 10 ways that customer analytics solutions can benefit retailers.

  • Optimizing Stock Levels – Inventory management is an essential part of retail: too few of an item, and you disappoint customers and lose sales. Too many, and the product takes up loads of storage space, and may need to be heavily discounted or even thrown away. Customer analytics solutions can take many separate factors into account, such as the time of the year, week, or even day, as well as shrinkage and other things that can be difficult to predict.

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  • Tailoring Stock Levels to Individual Stores – It is important to look at the big picture when it comes to inventory, but managing details at the store level can bring in additional savings. By analyzing what products are most successful and where, it is possible to fine-tune inventory levels for each individual store, optimizing the use of shelf space and minimizing costs from over or understocking.
  • Evaluating Marketing Campaigns – While measuring clicks and conversion rates online is easier than tracking in-store results of marketing, there are still tools that make the latter simple. Tracking the number of people who enter the store over a given period can provide considerable insight. For example, if there is a higher volume than usual after a marketing campaign is initiated, that’s a good sign that the campaign is having a positive effect.
  • Display Effectiveness – Window and entrance displays are a valuable way to get customers’ attention and draw them into your store. As with marketing campaigns, analyzing customer traffic and other factors can give an indication of the success of your displays.
  • Targeted Advertising – Instead of just marketing to the target group you designed your concept around, look at who is actually visiting your store, and what products they are buying. Your customers may not line up perfectly with your intended market. If there is significant interest from outside your target audience, it is worth including this group in your marketing plans.
  • Store Layout – By analyzing factors such as the customer’s path through the store, the time they spend in a particular section, and how long they stay in the store, it is possible to design store layout and signage to improve traffic and customer experience. For example, if one area frequently creates a bottleneck, or if customers don’t make it very far into the store before turning around and leaving, that’s a sign that changes need to be made.
  • Staff Scheduling – Store staff are a significant expense for any organization, and are also the main point of contact for brick-and-mortar customers. It is important to have enough people on hand to make the customer’s experience as smooth and efficient as possible, without overstaffing and paying for more staff hours than necessary. Analytics help determines peak days and hours, allowing you to better estimate your staffing needs for every shift.
  • Staff Interaction – Determining the appropriate level of attention to bestow upon individual customers is an important part of the retail experience. Too little attention and the customer will become frustrated and may leave without making a purchase, but too much attention and they will feel hassled and may not want to return. By monitoring the effects of various levels of interaction, it is possible to improve the customer experience and increase retention.
  • Shrinkage – Analytics can identify possible losses due to theft, as well as what items are most at risk, allowing you to better design store layout and security in order to reduce or eliminate the problem. It can also identify possible theft or lack of attention by employees, by noting if losses tend to happen during a certain employee’s shift.

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  • Loyalty Programs – Loyalty programs allow stores to collect a wealth of information on their most valuable customers: the ones who bring repeat business. These programs will not only track what types of products individual customers buy, but where, when, and how often. All of this data can be used both to target that specific customer and to learn more about the retailer’s customer base in general.

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