E-commerce is on the rise, but brick-and-mortar stores are still dominating the retail space. To retain their dominance and relevance, however, retailers need to understand what they can offer offline and can’t offer online. One of the strongest things is experience. As ‘Retail Prophet’ Doug Stephens put it in Business of Fashion this week: ‘the physical store has the potential to be the most powerful and effective form of media available to a brand because it offers an experience, which if crafted properly, cannot be replicated online.’ But how can retailers measure whether they’ve delivered an experience successfully? The keys are in-store analytics and retail analytics.
As Stephens rightly points out, retailers need to rethink their metrics when they decide to focus on delivering an experience to their shoppers. Though sales data will always remain important, it is not possible to rely on sales data if you want to understand whether and how customers engaged with your brand. The retail analytics landscape is changing rapidly and for many retailers it’s difficult to keep up, so we present you with an overview of the 3 key metrics that help you understand the success of delivering your brand story and customer experience.
If every zone in your store forms part of the brand story you want your visitors to see all parts to get the full story. This is what we call ‘coverage’. With help of in-store analytics, specifically cameras and software, it’s possible to track the level of activity that is taking place in different parts of the store. If these levels vary a lot, it means that some parts of the store receive a lot of attention, while others get much less attention, in such case the store has low coverage and this can be expressed in a percentage. If, on the other hand, activity levels across zones are relatively equal, the store has high coverage. The latter is what a retailer should be aiming for if every zone of is contributing to the experience.
Cameras containing special software have the ability to measure how long a shopper stays in the store and how long a shopper stays in a specific part of the store. This metric is both relevant for reaching ‘traditional’ goals of increasing sales levels, as well as for measuring engagement. If you believe the experience you’re offering to be an enjoyable experience, you’d expect shoppers to stay in your store for a longer time. And besides being the result of a good experience, dwell time is of course also the cause of a more successful experience; if you manage to slow down shoppers and have them stay in the store longer there is also more opportunity for them to fully experience your brand.
There will always be shoppers that prefer buying through your online channel. This is perfectly fine, but if you consider the physical store to be an extension and addition to the online store it is important to try to also attract these shoppers inside the store. While they might still prefer to buy an item later online, the fact that they’ve been in a store and had a positive experience encourages them to buy, be it online. Demographic data can help make sense of whether you’re still getting those online shoppers inside the store. Especially once you’re tracking this over a longer period of time it’s interesting to see whether, for instance, the amount of young adults entering your store has gone down but the sales to young adults online has gone up. In this case you might want to do more to encourage young adults to enter the store in order for them to buy even more, online or offline.