How retail intelligence is shaping the in-store experience

retail intelligence is shaping the in-store experience

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

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.

Order fulfillment

Order fulfillment

Omnichannel…it’s a word we hear time and again as the retail landscape shifts to encompass online retail, in-store retail and further strategies that bridge the gap between the two such as click and collect.

Driving the omnichannel environment is the cold hard practicality of order fulfillment, and here retail intelligence is critical.

Only when a retailer has complete, real-time insight into their inventory is seamless order fulfillment possible.

Data and analytics then allow the retailer to better streamline and manage their fulfillment operation. For example, it allows them to allocate adequate warehouse space and staff resources to fulfill orders, while also streamlining the volume of inventory that needs to be carried in-store.

Merchandising optimisation

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

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.

For more insight into trends emerging in retail, see here, or view our range of smart retail tools that can assist in shaping a more intelligent retail experience.