One indicator of a healthy brick-and-mortar store is a steady stream of foot traffic. Whether you’re a merchant or a customer, a queue outside a storefront’s doors and aisles full of shoppers are signs that a brand is likely succeeding.
But measuring important metrics like foot traffic can be difficult (unless you stand at you store door and count customers as they come in — but who has time for that?).
And foot traffic isn’t the only important data retailers can use to both gauge the health of their sales and optimize their storefront or pop-up shop. Retailers should also consider tracking and measuring some of these analytics as well:
- In-store hot spots (like your most popular aisles)
- Busy days/times for store visits
- Common customer routes through your store
- Demographics of store visitors
- Impact of promotions/marketing campaigns on foot traffic
- Customer conversion ratio (rate that visitors become customers by buying something)
- Average purchase value
- Number of items per purchase
Keeping up with all these analytics may seem like an overwhelming prospect at first, but fortunately, retailers can access a number of high-tech tools that can help.
Depending on the goals you have for your store, there are a number of programs, apps, and sensors that eager merchants can seek out to help them stay on top of these important numbers. And here, we’ve rounded up some of the best tools you’ll find in the industry today.
Ready to take control of your data to make more informed decisions? Let’s take a closer look at some of our top picks.
The number of people who set foot in your store is one of the most important metrics you can track as a physical retailer or pop-up shop owner. The more shoppers who cross your threshold, the more likely your sales numbers will correlate with that spike.
Those merchants who focus on ecommerce sales only can easily track customers as they visit their site. But with physical stores, tracking this statistic isn’t as easy — unless you use one of the following tools.
Aislelabs helps retailers carefully track in-store foot traffic and other analytics with sensors, mobile apps, and information gathered when customers log into the local WiFi network.
They then use this information along with store layouts, labor and staffing, and local weather to develop effective marketing initiatives based on this wealth of data.
ShopperTrak is a people counting and conversion tracking system that serves as another solution for keeping up with foot traffic.
Their website states that “ShopperTrak counts visitors to your space using traditional traffic counting devices at entrances or pressure-sensitive floor mats to deliver granular and accurate insights on consumer behaviors in physical spaces.”
RetailNext is another industry leader that provides retailers with a variety of features to help merchants track visitors more effectively.
The company offers traffic sensors, customer route mapping, mobile marketing, and more for stores eager to get the most data from their investment.
Proximity Marketing (and Marketing Impact Measurement)
Proximity marketing is one of the hot topics in the retail marketing world to emerge in the last few years. Using beacon technology, proximity marketing helps retailers send marketing messages, advertisements, promotions, or discounts to potential customers nearby.
Beacon technology allows mobile apps to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world using Bluetooth technology and act accordingly. They deliver hyper-contextualized content to users based on their geographic location.
And while implementing this type of tech could feel a bit overwhelming, here are some unique tools to ensure you can adopt this easily in your retail store.
Euclid Analytics is yet another tool that monitors store visitors — but with an emphasis on segmenting those customers based on what brought them into your store.
Specifically, Euclid is helpful when it comes to understanding the in-store impact of your marketing efforts. Euclid Analytics tracks visitors that were driven there because of promotions. The program also helps merchants better understand when people visit stores and specific aisles.
Proximity marketing is another great tactic that not only track who is in or near your store, but also provides them with direct communications from your brand.
For example, Estimote provides small, colorful beacons that send push notifications to users’ phones about products or promotions when it senses that someone near.
Inventory Management and Customer Service
Customer service is about far more than answering a shopper query about a size or issuing a prompt refund. Great customer service takes into account the-end to-end experience a customer has with all the touchpoints of your business.
One way to provide outstanding customer is to ensure your storefront’s inventory is set up properly — shelves should be well stocked, items should be in the appropriate place, and no items should be out of stock. This ensures customers can navigate your aisles, find what they need, and that their desired items won’t be sold out.
Fortunately, there’s a wealth of tools to make often-tedious inventory management tasks a bit easier.
What if a tool didn’t just help you manage your current inventory numbers, but could also predict future data? Celect is a company that touts itself as a top-notch, big data predictive analytics platform.
What does that mean exactly? Using artificial intelligence, Celect helps merchandisers, retail planners, and inventory analysts better determine "what to put where" when it comes to your products.
The tool helps store operators dig a little deeper into their customers’ brains and behavior. Essentially, retailers can get a deeper understanding of how a specific customer shopping at a specific location chooses from an assortment of products. And that kind of predictive data can be invaluable when retailers are merchandising their stores.
Similar to Celect, Blue Yonder is another predictive data platform. This German-based company uses machine learning to automate store replenishment, which can help reduce out-of-stock rates by up to 80%. And the management tool accomplishes this without forcing retailers to have more excess inventory cluttering up your stock room.
The company also helps take another task off merchants’ lengthy to-do lists: pricing strategy. For those retailers that struggle with pricing, Blue Yonder also offers a feature to help you automate price adjustments. For some storefronts, particularly those in apparel and grocery niches, product prices may need to change daily. Again, this platforms uses artificial intelligence to automate those decisions for harried retailers.
With the continual rise of ecommerce, most retailers are now employing multichannel sales strategies. That means merchants need a multichannel solution that reconciles both their online and offline sales.
That’s where Shopify POS comes in. Retailers can readily accept payments in store or on the go, and also easily manage their entire inventory for their storefront and ecommerce stores. Track stock counts, and automatically stop selling products when inventory runs out.
TRY SHOPIFY POS: Want to give Shopify's point of sale systems a test run? Start a free Shopify POS trial today.
It’s also simple to categorize your inventory in a way that makes sense to you. Organize products by category, type, season, sale, and more. Or use smart collections to automatically sort products based on vendor, price, and inventory level. Your customers’ information is also automatically synced with Shopify, so their order history can be referenced or tracked – no matter where the order was placed.
Yes, that’s right — robots are invading retail to help with some of your more tedious tasks. Firms like Fellow Robots are creating robotic solutions to automate everything from customer service to stock checking and general inventory management.
Through machine learning and neural networks, Fellow’s NAVii robot aims to simplify inventory management by better understanding everything that’s inside the store. It can determine out-of-stock items, price discrepancies, and find misplaced items — saving your employees serious time and effort. The robot can also autonomously create a store map and product planogram to keep staff up-to-date on what items are where in the store.
Simbe Robotics is another option for retailers looking for full-fledged automatons to take over some of their mundane tasks.
Tally, Simbe’s proprietary robot, gives retailers visibility into the state of merchandise in their stores. The robot audits shelves and provides a robust analytics solution.Essentially, this inventory management robot performs the repetitive and laborious tasks of auditing shelves for out-of-stock items, low stock items, misplaced items, and pricing errors.
Moving Forward With In-Store Metrics Tools
Now that you have a list of tools that will help you capture and analyze those increasingly important analytics for your store, you can the next step with optimizing your store layout, product displays, pathways through your store, and other factors to bolster sales.
Ready to translate this new knowledge into action? Learn how to integrate some of these tools into your retail operation to measure and increase customer visits into your store.