Elevate in-store shopping and build customer intimacy with geomatics

in-store-retail

When your core business is to sell, sell, sell, you need to know what and why your customers want to buy. Online retailers have proven quite adept at getting to know their customers’ whats and whys. Using that information to build better customer relationships is a proven value, but the industry is still trying to crack the nut that is the brick-and-mortar store. Geomatics may be the answer.

Geomatics applies advanced analytics to all sorts of geospatial data that can be collected using advanced presence technology and environmental sensor solutions. With geomatics, retailers can create a digital picture of a retail space that’s automatically updated to accurately portray customer experiences. Getting a better read on customers and their preferences while they shop can help retailers create a more enjoyable and interactive environment that fosters a more intimate customer relationship. Achieving that understanding needs to be balanced with customer privacy, identity protection, and resisting the desire to barge into the shopping experience with coupon or advice spam. Otherwise we taint the shopping experience, alienate the customer, and end up paying for useless data.

To gather the shopping information grounded in geomatics, retailers have many choices in advanced presence and sensor technology. This includes 3-D face measurement sensors (NOT recognition) to capture shopper sentiment, LiDAR sensors to anonymously follow individuals in the store, ultrawide band (UWB) radar for crowd counting and shopper flow management, and long range, low power (LoRa) communication for wirelessly connecting internet of things (IoT) applications. Other technologies, like machine learning and the digital twin, can be used to test new store configurations and the effect of targeted discounts. Rounding out the possibilities, more established technologies such as real-time location systems (RTLS), geofencing, Wi-Fi tracking, and especially RFID, give the retailer a full suite of options to capture the physical-world reality that differentiates a brick-and-mortar environment from virtual retail.

Service environments such as DXC OmniLocation bring together the real-time shopper experience and sensor data with infrastructure layouts, ERP, retail floor data, and information from the physical world about shoppers lives outside the store. This multi-layered environment enables analysis, planning, testing, and decision support for brick-and-mortar retailers to match and even exceed their online competitors.

Imagine being able to capture individual and group shopping experiences – as opposed to just individual customers – as they browse the aisles. Which aisles were too crowded and which were empty? Which displays garnered the most attention? What is the facial reaction to displays, to sales racks, or during checkout, and what can those reactions tell us about customer sentiment as they shop? How many times were the men’s coats in a new shipment lifted off the rack and how many were tried on? What goods were taken off a shelf and then left elsewhere in the store? Capturing the in-store experience also delivers insights about employees; for example, how many were on the floor and where, and when were they most active?

Then imagine applying geomatics to better understand the “whys” behind all that data and discover critical information about the in-store experience. Is putting all the clearance items in the far back aisle leaving you with merchandise that never moves? What is the correlation between traffic flows, store layout, and popular displays? How do your employee schedules and floor assignments match the number of customers in various departments or at certain times of the day?

It isn’t enough to capture in-store presence and tracking data, however. Retailers need to apply analytics to gain the information they need to fine-tune customer interactions and customer intimacy. By combining traffic data with what customers are actually purchasing, brick-and-mortar retailers have access to the same kind of insights they get with online sales.  They can optimize demand forecasts; improve product placement, floor plans, and in-store design; and even adjust employee scheduling, tasks, and placement.

Retailers can use machine learning to test new store layouts and plan the timing of sales, marketing initiatives and coupons to correspond to weather and other external events. In the brick-and-mortar world, customer access to stores is driven by a number of factors. Today planning and marketing expenditures can incorporate the ease, difficulty or even desirability of access to stores beyond the traditional federal holiday sales bonanzas.

In recent years, the customer experience has become a key priority for companies. Last year, in fact, Gartner shared findings from a global study that said organizations are refocusing their efforts on developing customer experience management strategies. The 2017 study on customer experience found that customer analytics is a key area for increased technology investment, and that by 2020 more than 40 percent of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience.  Further supporting this aim, a recent IDC study highlighted that the top retailer priority for 2018 will involve deploying solutions that enhance retail employee capabilities to leverage a myriad of insights to ensure customer experience in conjunction with a wide range of business goals.

With geomatics, retailers can optimize the in-store shopping experience for each customer in ways they never thought possible. By strengthening customer relationships, retailers can once again elevate traditional shopping in their strategic, omnichannel business plans.


Daniel Munyan headshot-loresDaniel Munyan is the Global Geomatics & IoT Analytics Product Manager for DXC Analytics. Daniel brings over 30 years’ experience in technology evangelism, applied research, and product engineering. Daniel works with clients to understand their supply chains, transportation systems, mobile resources and asset infrastructures by digitizing the enterprise and physical world. His goal is to enable clients to apply technology resulting in fewer, better business decisions.

Michael-Boykin-headshotDr. Michael Boykin is the Americas’ industry chief technologist for the DXC Technology Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail business segments. Michael brings more than 25 years of technology strategy and leadership experience, and works with DXC clients, offering teams and technology partners to cultivate industry solutions and technology strategies that accelerate our clients’ digital transformation initiatives.

Comments

  1. I really loved the post. Very Informative.Thank you for sharing it!

    Like

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