Retailers’ New Superweapons – The Technologial Revolution At The Point of Sale

Traditional bricks-and-mortar stores are facing fierce competition from online retailers which, due to their very nature, can access in real-time data on shopper behavior and thus, constantly improve their offers and service.

In recent years however, more and more innovative start-ups promise real-world stores to provide them with this very same information.

In this article, shoppernewsblog introduces five start-ups which equip the traditional bricks-and-mortar store with the necessary weapons to successfully compete with online retailers in the 21st century.

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1. Shopperception

Shopperception is an analytical tool which, through motion-capturing technology, allows to retrieve real-time shopper data at the point of sale. Placing a Microsoft’s Kinect devise invisibly above an aisle, the software allows to prepare heat maps and analyses of numerous variables, such as number of aisle visitors, dwelling time, product interaction (touch, pick-up, return, conversion), and much more.

Shopperception offers various advantages over similar technologies and hence provides superior shopper insights by:

  • Analyzing multiple shoppers at the same time
  • Avoiding interviewer bias and subjectivity
  • Operating 7×24
  • Providing shopper confidentiality by using mathematical algorithm instead of video analysis
  • Utilizing automated processes
  • Serving as a source for new shopper insights

Click on the sample report to the right to enlarge.

shoppernewsblog had the opportunity to observe a test trial at a supermarket recently. We were impressed by the depth of information Shopperception is able to retrieve without interfering with consumers’ natural shopping behavior.

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2. Shopper Retail Insight

Making use of existing securities cameras in retail outlets, SRI analyzes the footage to generate unique shopper insights. Through “software, derived from sports science, our team of analysts tag each and every significant action that your shoppers take“¹. This way, SRI is able to analyze:

  • Shopping paths
  • Category management performance
  • Queuing behavior
  • Effectiveness of POP material and promotions
  • Shopper interaction with products
  • Shopper behavior to generate actionable insights

Clients of SRI include for example Kraft Foods and Cadbury. According to the company’s website, P&G recently contracted SRI to analyze “shopper types, shopper journeys, conversion rates, heat maps and staff service to name just a few“¹ in the beauty category. Apart from recommending new KPI’s to measure P&G´s performance at the point of sale, SRI also established benchmarks for future measurements.

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3. Digby

Digby’s Localpoint is a software which can be embedded into a brand’s or retailer’s app to analyze shopper behavior based on geofencing, both around the store and in-store. The software then “measure(s) application engagement and events such as geofence entries/exists, store visits, UPC/QR Code scans and other key shopping-oriented events triggered through the application as the consumer visits the store and uses their smartphone to find and research products to enhance their in-store shopping experience“².

Based on the real-time information retrieved from the shopper, brands and retailers can then send targeted marketing messages. For example, a brand might choose to send a  promotional offer to shoppers when they arrive at a specific aisle or display. Brand apps which include an online commerce function can also encourage to buy the product right away online thus offering a multi-channel experience but also fostering the problem of showrooming.

Find a definition of showrooming at the end of this article.

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4. Qubulus

Qubulus is an indoor positioning technology leveraging on shoppers’ mobile phone devices to track with extreme accuracy shopper paths without depending on RFID.

Qubulus does not make use of GPS either as its signal would be too weak to penetrate most buildings. Instead, Qubulus relies on radio fingerprinting which recognizes the very characteristics of each position in a store and the radio signal a mobile phone emits.

The technology itself then not only allows to analyze shopper behaviour indoors, but also to interact with shoppers based on their very location. According to the company’s website, Qubulus allows for “(n)avigation, proximity alerts, store locators, location-based product searches (…)³. Based on the information obtained, store owners can optimize their store outlay to match the natural path of shoppers.

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5. Euclid

Euclid analytics promises bricks-and-mortar stores the same depth of shopper data which only online retailers could retrieve so far. The technology is based on identifying shoppers with smartphones outside and inside of a store and then using a software to examine their behavior.

According to Euclid‘s website, the easy to set-up sensor and software enables shop owners to measure:

  • Window conversion rate
  • Store hours optimization
  • New vs repeat visitors
  • Dwell time
  • Customer loyalty / frequency

The low-cost and intuitive software allows shop owners to test hypothesis with ease and thus is ideal for smaller stores and shop owners lacking outstanding analytical skills or computer expert knowledge.

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Outlook

The above-mentioned five technologies enable traditional bricks-and-mortar stores to access information which until now was only available to their online competitors. Using the technologies presented in this article, retailers and FMCG companies can amass huge amounts of shopper data in real-time and thus generate actionable shopper insights which ultimately will result in higher sales and increased shopper loyalty.

Moreover, most shopper data provided by the established research companies such as Nielsen and IRI, is already weeks old when being analyzed and thus lacks the power of instant interaction with shoppers. However, the above-mentioned technologies provide  real-time information on shopper behavior and thus allow for personalized communication at the store level.

In consequence, online retailers might just be about to lose one of their main advantage.

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Showrooming

Wikipedia defines showrooming as “the act of examining merchandise in a brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it there, then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item“⁴. Some retailers already threatened FMCG companies to charge a fee for showrooming their products to compensate for their loss in sales to online retailers. Others prefer to launch their own online retailing platform to avoid losing shoppers to virtual competitors.

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Click “5 technologies That Change Shopper Marketing” to access all posts from this series.

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What do you recommend to traditional bricks-and-mortar stores for competing successfully with online retailers?

Please share your opinion with us.

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 Sources:

http://www.shopperception.com/

¹ http://www.shopperretailinsight.com/

² http://www.digby.com/

³ http://www.qubulus.com/#

http://euclidelements.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Showrooming

Showrooming picture retrieved from http://www.adexchanger.com/comic-strip/adexchanger-showrooming/

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