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Analytics shows profound effect on in-store commerce

Rachel Wheeler Archive

In the retail sector, there's been a massive increase in recent years in companies' reliance on analytics. In a competitive environment where numerous sellers are fighting for consumers' attention, the key to beating out one's rivals is often having a better approach to gathering and analyzing customer data. The better you understand your target demographics, the more likely you are to sell to them.

It should come as no surprise, then, that retail data management is a hot topic in today's business world. And according to Essential Retail, the savviest sellers are the ones looking to leverage analytics in a variety of retail settings. Online commerce is obviously king these days, but in-person shopping still matters too - and according to Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, numerous business strategists are looking for analytical strategies that loop in all of the above.

The decline of "footfall"
Retailers have begun taking an entirely new approach to gauging what works and what doesn't, strategically. It's pretty obvious what's changed - because so many people are shopping online and via mobile devices these days, there's been a sharp decline in "footfall" - or people walking into stores in person.

Denison says this has brought about a new era in analytics, accordingly.

"Online has brought retail analytics into the 21st century," he stated. "Metrics such as site hits, click-throughs, dwell times and site navigation have given retailers a new performance dashboard to their business, delivering far more insight into online shopping than many have ever had in conventional store-based shopping."

He also noted, though, that there's an eagerness on the part of many merchants to replicate their e-commerce analytics strategies in the brick-and-mortar realm.

Optimizing engagement everywhere
The goal in any type of sales should be to optimize customer engagement. Whether a person is on their smartphone or at the storefront, you want to keep them interested and interactive. The best retailers these days are the ones who look to keep all different types of consumers plugged in - even those who aren't literally "plugging in."

"Optimizing engagement with every customer is as important now as it ever has been, particularly at a time when confidence is starting to improve," Denison explained. "Shoppers have become savvier than ever before and it is up to retailers to find out how best to meet their needs. These are exciting times for retail analytics."

People these days have a deep menu of shopping options available to them. With analytics, merchants can find the right strategies to fine-tune the e-commerce process for everyone.