Why it's crucial to understand the shopper’s in-store behavior in the evolving retail market
Photo courtesy of SmartTraffik/Montri Nipitvittaya/Shutterstock.com
By Laurent Simonin, CEO, Smart Traffik
Brands and retailers have been closely monitoring online shopping behavioral data for more than a decade. However, the magic still happens in stores today, with 91percent of retail sales taking place in brick-and-mortar stores. Customers easily switch between online and offline, with their daily life often having no barrier between the two, which is something that is not an easy task for retailers.
Why we should focus on creating smart data when it comes to the shopping experience
All retailers gather data about their clients. It can be contact information, behavioral activity, demographic information, online behavior, feedback, basket analysis, and more. But there is something keeping them from really knowing their shoppers, even with the above information in their hands, because of the way they collect data. Often, information is collected in silos and there is no easy way to compare and cross-check data to benefit from a global knowledge about their customers.
Rather than being seen as individuals, they are approached as segments. Yet, many studies have shown that today’s customer wants to be valued and recognized. More than three out of four shoppers (79 percent) like it when they receive product offers or promotions based on their purchasing history from a retailer* indicating a desire for a more personalized shopping experience. Therefore, retailers need to focus on creating smart data to better address their customers.
How to get to know the in-store shopper?
Retailers have been gathering and monitoring online customer data for over a decade now, to the point where we know all about their connected behavior, preferences and ways to shop. But how well do we know the in-store shopper? We know 91percent of retail sales take place in brick-and mortar stores, which generates higher conversion rates than digital channels. Therefore, knowing the in-store shopper is crucial in the evolving retail market.
While traditional ways of collecting data — like gathering client information at checkout or implementing loyalty programs — are still ongoing, some innovative tools are revolutionizing the way we collect data. Today, we have ways to implement small devices into the stores, to identify shoppers in a unique and anonymous way, with no need of any app. It allows brands and retailers to collect data in real time, follow their customers’ path by tracking their foot traffic, and analyze their behavior. With the deep customer-knowledge brands and retailers gain from such implementations, they can adapt their strategy accordingly, and create a more personalized customer experience.
From online to offline: understand the omnichannel shopper
Knowing the online shopper and the in-store shopper is a good start, but brands and retailers also need to consider the omnichannel shopper. Eighty percent of customers do online research before making a purchase, which makes it more important than ever to understand them, and their expectations. Their journey begins online, and later when they arrive in the store, there is a certain amount of data collected up to this point, based upon which they will be shown the right products or given the appropriate advice according to their interests.
This is where the limit of siloed structure stands, regarding the collection of data. Retailer strategy cannot be primarily online or offline anymore, they need to merge both worlds, for a successful achievement. Choosing the right partner for building their O2O strategy (online to offline) is a key element, as they need someone capable of handling the entire customer journey, from the start online, until checkout in-store.
Overall, it is all about enriching the shopper experience
Brands and retailers need to unify their departments to increase revenue through an improved customer experience. Customers want their shopping experience to reflect their daily life: a mix of online and offline. It is up to the retailers and brands to understand who their customers are, how to best-address their expectations, and to create brand awareness and engagement.
*Connected Shoppers Report - Insights into the Expectations of Today's Empowered Shoppers, Salesforce.
Companies: Smart Traffik