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In-store Navigation Helps Visualize Shopper Behavior and Boost Store Performance

technology

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17 December 2020

Digital technology will play a key role in transforming the retail sector and one new solution that is seeing growing adoption is in-store navigation, which lets consumers see on their mobile phone the exact location of a product they want to buy and the quickest way to get to it.

Helping shoppers get in and out of the store quickly would seem to conflict with the conventional approach to store design, which encourages shoppers to spend as much time as possible in the store in order to maximize their purchasing outcomes.

But consumer habits have changed in recent years, with more and more shoppers looking for a quicker, frictionless shopping experience. Brick-and-mortar retailers need to prioritize speed and convenience if they want to ensure shoppers keep visiting their stores as often as they did in the past.

Many consumers are simply short of time while others want to avoid crowds, particularly at peak times when stores are congested.

 

The Need for Speed

Whatever the reason, retailers need to adapt to the “need for speed” from today’s consumers, who are more likely to abandon the store if they have to wait a long time in line to pay or cannot quickly find an item.

Adding in-store navigation to the shopping experience allows customers to quickly find what they’re looking for, so shortening their path to purchase and it offers big benefits to retailers as well.

In-store navigation work in a similar way to the GPS navigation apps built into every smartphone.  To improve the accuracy of in-store navigation, the positioning information provided by GPS is complemented by that provided by small short-range radio transmitters, called iBeacons, which are installed in the store.

 

Pinpointing the Location

The combination of GPS and Bluetooth Low Energy permits the location of a shopper to be pinpointed in real time with an accuracy of 50 centimeters or less, not just in two dimensions but also vertically, which is important in multi-floor stores as the desired product may be on a different floor to the current location of the shopper.

The in-store navigation app constantly tracks the position of the shopper in the store and guides them to the exact shelf locations for the products in their shopping list, previously created in their mobile phone. The guidance is done by superimposing directions and indications on the shopper’s mobile phone, and it can be enhanced with augmented reality to help visualize the route better.

Retailers can leverage in-store navigation not only to help the shopper find the desired product quicker, but also to do real-time marketing and so increase basket size. For example, as the shopper navigates around the store, the system tracks their exact location and can flash up special offers as the shopper approaches them. This information would be tailored to the preferences of each shopper.

By analyzing the wealth of data produced by the navigation app, retailers can gain greater insight into the spatial performance of their stores and of promotions, and visualize the information in an intuitive fashion as heat maps.

Depending on the type of heat map, the warm and cold areas of the heat maps can show the areas of the store that produce the highest and lowest sales,  the zones with greatest or lowest traffic, or the areas where shoppers stop and for how long (dwell time).

In-store navigation is just one of the technologies in everis Capiolty-Shopp that help retailers “be phygital”, blending the best of physical and digital customer experiences to optimize store performance and achieve higher profitability.

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