Brick-and-mortar retail is not an easy business, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s as ultracompetitive a business as they come, and new challenges pop up everyday, from bad weather one day to a special promotion at a competitor across the street the next. It’s a battle to survive and thrive, and retailers are using every tool at their disposal.
RetailNext pioneered the use of retail in-store analytics almost seven years ago, and once retail enterprises discovered the wealth of actionable data available to better manage their stores, a rapidly growing technology sector was born. And, according to a new study by RetailNext partner Brickstream, the sector is “primed for significant growth.”
Brickstream recently published “Retail Analytics: What’s in Store?”, a study of 124 global retail executives in a range of retail functions: operations, marketing, merchandising, and loss prevention. Not surprisingly, the future of in-store analytics will be built on the fundamental foundation of people and traffic counting, the basic building blocks for more robust measurements. In fact, 71% of the respondents surveyed said they use or plan to use people counting technology in stores.
Other interesting findings include 68% who reported that they use or plan to use in-store Wi-Fi and loyalty systems, and 52% who expressed an interest in mobile payment/wireless POS and queue management technologies.
The biggest surprise in the data might concern end-user customers. The report states that marketing departments are most likely to start initiatives around in-store analytics, with other functional areas of the business being integrated as technologies and data insights are being developed. It’s a proof point that data is being used to make better decisions in attracting shoppers to visit and to help serve customers better, ultimately in the interprets of converting visits into transactions.
Retailers are seeing the benefits of better data, and the needs are transcending the barriers of traditional retail organizational structures. No longer is IT the owner of data, and no longer is POS data the only or most important data source.
Concentrating on an end-to-end shopper experience and the evolving omnichannel blend of online and offline shopping, retailers require data platforms that are flexible enough to meet the needs of the business, integrating seamlessly into existing infrastructures and other data streams, including the ever-emerging social networking streams. As a leader in the industry, RetailNext is responding to the quick growth of the sector and the demands of retailers by providing flexible, scalable solutions delivering real-time, actionable data.
Data collection and analysis is now an integral part of retailers’ strategic and decision-making processes, and the space is only growing larger. If your store is struggling to optimize its competitive operations, start with the quantifiable, objective data that’s so readily available. The Brickstream report shows that big data and its analysis will soon be the ante to play the retail game.