As retailers grapple with a new landscape, in-store intelligence including technology, analytics and data is playing an increasing role in both optimising and streamlining the retail experience.
Much of this intelligence is catering to an increased customer expectation, but along the way, it’s also maximising efficiency and minimising operating costs.
In other words, intelligence is delivering on a new personalised in-store experience using data and analytics that allows retailers to understand exactly where their attention and investment should be directed.
What do we mean? Well let’s explore…
Contactless yet personalised
There’s been much column space devoted to the topic of contactless retail, but that extends far beyond contactless pick-up and delivery.
In-store, retailers are also being challenged to implement contactless payments and scan and go, while the in-store experience they provide is required to have hygiene and a touchless future front of mind.
That’s where augmented and virtual reality are coming into play, offering life-like experiences in a digital arena that can still be enhanced by the in-store environment.
The challenge here is to ensure that contactless experience remains personalised, which involves using data, analytics and feedback to understand exactly what the customer needs and wants along with the strategies that make them feel safe and secure yet engaged.
As retailers emerge from the challenging operating conditions of 2020, there’s also a push to reduce operating costs and trim the bottom line.
As Gartner Inc senior research director Kelsie Marian recently noted, inventory is often a retailer’s greatest expense.
As a result, there’s a new focus on understanding which stock should be carried in what store at what volume to reduce this inventory cost.
But how can retailers better understand what merchandise is likely to perform at which location? Through data and analytics that offer an insight into customer interest (i.e. how often a product was engaged with) and product sales.
This then goes a step further to translate into algorithmic-based predictions and optimisation, allowing retailers to determine promotions, pricing, and stock levels.
“Algorithmic merchandising optimisation enables retailers to more precisely determine items that need to be displayed and stocked, as well as how they should be priced and promoted to maximise sales, margin, inventory and customer satisfaction across touchpoints,” Ms Marian explains.
The store associate
Retail Intelligence isn’t just restricted to inventory management, merchandising, and personalisation, it also extends to the store associate at the coalface of the customer experience.
By granting your staff access to this intelligence, including stock levels, merchandising insight, predicted trends, and sales analytics they are empowered to facilitate a more personalised retail experience for the customer.
In other words, if they are given insight into the customer’s previous touchpoints with the brand, the stock that’s likely to suit, its real-time availability, and current trends they are better able to cater to that individual’s precise needs creating a better experience for the consumer and the retailer.