For years, forever really, retailers have counted store traffic, or front door traffic. At first, it might have been through simple observations and resulted in a rough approximation, but over the decades, it’s become systematic through various technologies, and traffic counting now delivers extremely accurate counts. And, it’s a good thing too, for basic retail managerial metrics like conversion (percentage of traffic that completes a purchase transaction) are dependent on accurate traffic counts.
But, the shortcoming of traffic – after accuracy was improved – has always been centered on its main limitation. You see, traffic only provides an answer to the question, “How many?” Helpful, true, but hardly an insight into customers that will help retailers develop and deliver an optimal shopping experience to customers.
In brick-and-mortar retail, it’s been customary to know traffic coming in and then some shopper data at point-of-sale (POS). But, in between the door and the check out, there was a “black hole” of zero information. Plus, POS data only included insights on buyers. What about all the shoppers who didn’t buy; after all, no retailer, not even a grocer, has 100 percent conversion.
Online retailers have long enjoyed a wealth of information on the behavior of their shoppers, tracking mouse movements, time on pages, where clicks occur, what’s being browsed and shopped, and what’s being purchased (or not purchased). They’ve used that information to change the online shopping experience – today, e-commerce looks and feels nothing like it did 15 years ago.
So, why hasn’t brick-and-mortar retail followed suit?
Retailers have overly invested in online channels, playing “catch up” to big rivals, particularly the global threats of Amazon and Alibaba. But, many have done so to the detriment of the physical store channel, and that pattern will no longer cut it in an omnichannel retail era where shoppers expect – demand – seamless, cross-channel branded experiences.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be so. RetailNext’s Traffic 2.0 solution blends a variety of data streams to deliver actionable insights well beyond “how many.” With existing technologies already deployed, Traffic 2.0 empowers retailers to gain additional insights like the percentage of passby traffic that is “captured,” or comes into the store, whether shoppers are new or repeat customers (and if a repeat customer, the frequency of visits), the duration of their shopping visits, and – once in the store – the path shoppers took, where they went (and didn’t go) and what engaged them (and didn’t engage).
With all those insights, Traffic 2.0 goes beyond the who, what, when, where, how and for how long, and begins to shed light on the most meaningful variables of them all – why and why not.
In today’s incredibly competitive retail environment, retailers have to think broadly across all of their channels, ensuring they not only have an understanding of their shoppers and their shopping behaviors, but also an analytics platform that scales with the types of questions to which they need answers – today and tomorrow. Traffic 2.0 goes where point solutions like simple front door traffic counting don’t, and tomorrow’s retail leaders are deploying those Traffic 2.0 strategies today.
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