Ever wondered what your customers were doing on your website, with your emails or in social and in and around your store but didn’t want to ask? Well now you can know, and it’s a lot simpler than you think. Retailers can easily track customer movements in real time through their smartphone’s Wi-fi or Bluetooth. This tracking isn’t just limited to instore movements, but movements around the outside of the storefront or even around a shopping centre.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t allow you to communicate directly to the customer or let you to know exactly who they are, their demographics etc, but it provides great insights into their behaviour. It can highlight general tendencies in where customers stop, spend a great deal of time or walk past completely.
How does it work?
By installing retail analytics technology that a variety of companies offer, you can identify customer’s locations through their smartphone’s attempt to connect to Wifi services in your store. Customers don’t even need to join the Wi-Fi network to be tracked, but so long as their Wi-Fi is turned on you can trace their exact movements.
The technology collects media access code (MAC) addresses and every smartphone has a unique MAC address. Newer phones have dynamic MAC addresses, so when a customer enters a store each time you can’t aggregate their previous behaviour. This will make trend analysis more difficult, but you will still get insights into each visit.
There are different types of technology providers, some give more information than others depending on what services you purchase. Popular providers include ShopperTrak, Retail Next and Euclid Analytics.
What can it tell me?
If you are a retailer that wants to trace customer’s behaviour in and around your store, this technology can give you a range of data. As an example, if you are a department store and say you found the trend that many customers that enter Kitchenware then go upstairs to Entertainment then back down to White Goods, you may decide to move all these departments onto one level, to make the customer experience smoother. Alternatively, you may decide to install signage regarding the departments on the route most popularly travelled by customers.
Here’s another one. Say you found that most people in Womenswear were exiting the store after staying in that department for 10 minutes. This insight could help you see that there is a staffing problem in that section, with customers giving up looking for help thus leaving the store. This insight could also show you that it takes 10 minutes for customers to find the item they are after, however as there are no cash registers in that department, they then walk over to the adjacent department to pay. This indicates that you may need to install a register in that department to increase customer satisfaction.
What if you were thinking of installing a new digital sign near one of your entrances, but weren’t sure of how many people entered the store or walked past that entrance? You could use the technology to monitor the movements at that entrance, install the sign, see if people stop to see the sign and how many people that sign converts into walking in store.
The possibilities are endless.