While many retailers are looking to capitalize upon their 2012 performance, Yahoo! Finance has tracked eight major retailers that will close the most stores this year.
Although e-retailers are prudent rivals, the in-store customer experience remains a key factor in helping keep a traditional retailer’s doors open. Surveys continuously show dissatisfaction with in-store customer service as one of the main reasons consumers choose competing retailers or go online.
But retailers can maintain a competitive edge when they implement systems that help them better understand their customers. While staff learns the names, faces and individual tastes of loyal customers, intelligent retail analytics can paint a clearer picture of otherwise anonymous crowds – which is key to delivering the first-in-class service customers want. The reader response to this online report, for example, gives insight into the level of importance consumers place on customer service:
Retailers can avoid the negative consumer reviews by capturing a true understanding of their customers that guides the development of new in-store strategies:
- Faster checkout lines – shoppers want to get in, check out, and walk out with minimal expense, time, and hassle.
- Personalize the in-store checkout – especially if you sell products that are popular online commodities.
- Track sales conversions – understand how many people come in vs. those who actually purchase vs. those who leave without buying anything. Is the in-store experience detracting buyers?
- Compare purchasing trends to staff allocation throughout the day.
- Use real-time retail intelligence to identify your busiest times – and when you need more staff at the checkout and throughout the store.
- Add value by ensuring an ample number of well-trained staff is always on the floor.
- Engage with customers for better interpersonal communication.
How to Track and Improve Store Performance
A high-tech system can help identify performance challenges; guide development of new strategies to overcome them; and help establish measurable benchmarks to ensure each store is meeting key customer service goals – particularly at the checkout.
Irisys’ thermal people counting and intelligent checkout management systems help capture actionable analytics that drive noticeable, measurable in-store improvements. Thermal people counting devices at entrance/exit doors and over checkout lanes unobtrusively identify shoppers by sensing their body heat.
The resulting retail analytics produce game-changing intelligence that helps improve staff scheduling and deployment. It even predicts the number of staffed checkouts needed in 15- and 30-minute intervals. With that information, managers can adjust and allocate front-end and other staff according to real-time information – and help ensure each store is delivering the level of service that keeps customers returning for more.