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Carly Wickham, Head of Marketing

Retail Data & Analytics: Part 2

In part one, we discovered the reasons why analytics at retail are a vital part of the infrastructure and why they are required by the C-Suite. Uncovering their needs is the easy part. How do you then capture the data to use it for further insight and analysis?

How does the retail industry currently capture data?

The ‘ENK Annual Analytics in Retail Study’ 2014 is an interesting place to hunt for industry insight.

Perhaps the most compelling statistic is that 80% of the 200 retailers surveyed, stated that they lag behind Amazon regarding analytics maturity. Interesting, because which retailer today can afford to ignore the competition posed by Amazon? Therefore, their gold standard in analytics (indeed CEO Jeff Bezos states “Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision making and our approach to innovation”) is redefining industry best practice.

Amazon undeniably has an advantage by being pure play digital (until their recent debut in Seattle), thereby having the ability to capture a tsunami of data with ease. This data is something that bricks and mortar stores understandably can struggle with.

Within the ENK Report, when asked about top data management challenges, 42% of retail respondents indicated that data capture was a top data management problem, with just 39% currently using in-store analytics and 36% looking to implement better in-store analytics in the next 24 months.

What does the future of data capture look like in-store?

The above statistics accurately reflect what we, as store designers, have been finding in the industry. We are frequently asked how we can integrate data capture mechanisms into the design.

For example, as part of the flagship store redesign in Dubai with Sun & Sand Sports, we integrated heat mapping technology throughout the store, including demographic, and gender data capture, so that they could ascertain in almost real-time if there were cold spots or underperforming areas of the store, and begin to dig deeper into the ways in which cooler areas can be optimised.

Customer selecting a shoe from touchscreen kiosk instore

Another form of in-store data capture generating interest is touchscreens alongside apparel. These interactive screens provide digital natives with the finger-tip ready ‘catalogue’ style information they expect, but they also offer a source of geographically based data to retailers.

So how do you capture data on retail customer experience?

Obtaining data about the success of a retail experience is even trickier, particularly as one of our previous blogs on CX indicated, one of the desired outcomes is a change in emotional receptiveness or mindstate. How do you capture that?

Fear not, scientists are on the case, and some cameras are even able to monitor a change in emotion through facial mapping.

With any data generation, it is only useful if the organisation then has the skill set to absorb, interpret and then act on the data generated. Hmmm… a good theme for part three.