5 Ways To Turn Your In-Store Insights Into Actions

Jan 28, 2019

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After “big data,” “insights-driven” is the buzziest word in retail right now. It’s no wonder, given that Forrester predicts that by 2020, the combined annual revenue of insights-driven businesses will be U.S. $1.2 trillion annually.

Even brick-and-mortar stores are scrambling to become insights-driven—but a mere 16% feel like their brands are experts at using shopper data insights to create actions.

After viewing a few practical examples of ways to turn insights into actions, you’ll find that it isn’t as complex as you might imagine. But first, you need to ensure you are gathering relevant in-store data through smart sensor technology. After all, without the right data in the first place, your insights will have no meaning at all.

Once you have access to relevant in-store data, it’s all about creative strategizing—so here are 5 ways you can start thinking out of the box to create actions from insights.  

1. Consider Other Meanings Straightforward Insights May Have
Once you begin analyzing your in-store data, one of the very first insights to consider will be foot traffic. The actions you derive from this data will be well worth using.

For example, when you notice that your foot traffic is far lower than you thought it was, of course you’ll want to attract more people into your stores. You’ll create actions to draw visitors in, like changing up window displays, or putting a sale sign outside.

This is valuable data that can help with other initiatives. Think about other implications those insights might have. For example, basic foot traffic data can be used to optimize staffing schedules. Analyze your foot traffic data and you’ll soon find trends, such as peak and slow days, and popular times of day. Even if you had a general idea of these trends, the data may surprise you.  

Then, re-allocate your staff during peak traffic times. The most high-tech systems, will enable you to analyze traffic counts down to 15-minute increments, and track traffic flow throughout your departments. This detailed data will let you focus staff on selling during peak times, and managing stock or taking breaks during slower times.

2. Think About The Impact Of Your Insights On Physical Space
One of the biggest advantages brick-and-mortar retailers have is their physical space. Of all shoppers, 23% prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar locations because they enjoy the experience, and that means your layout has to feel welcoming.

The prospect of changing a layout can seem daunting; anyone who has adjusted a store’s setup knows just how much planning, manual labor, and time it can consume. Plus, a lot of the time, these efforts lead to negligible results.

Less-than-promising outcomes happen when stores merely change layout based on a gut feeling that they need to achieve a new, trendy customer experience. As industry leader Doug Stephens notes, “they’ve just put fresh icing on the same stale cake.”

But when you base your layout changes on data-backed insights, like forty percent of tech-savvy retailers, you’re far more likely to see measurable gains.

Take the insight with the clearest link to layout, traffic flow. When you know where your store visitors tend to gather or which points make them head straight out the doors, you can tweak your layout to either fit with their current movements or push them into sections of your store that need more attention.

For example, if your analytics show that shoppers head straight to your clothing sale wall, change to a loop layout so they are forced to walk through your full-price offerings first. If your visitors grab impulse buys at the front of your grid layout but never make it to the staple items in the back of your store, flip your product placement so they have to walk through your flagship sections first.

Sixty-nine percent of retail professionals see positive ROI when they take actions based on shopper insights, so when your layout changes are based on data-driven insights, they are far more likely improve your bottom line.

3. Contemplate What An Increase In A Data Point Would Mean
If you have a data point you’re unsure about, try to imagine what increasing the amount of that data point would mean for your business. Consider customer stay time, for example.

If you know that most of your customers stay in your shop for ten minutes, you can brush this information off as an interesting side note or wonder what would happen if you increased stay time to fifteen minutes. Wouldn’t that mean those customers would be exposed to more of your items on sale?

Once you’ve determined whether or not you want an insight data point to increase, you can start thinking about what action might incite that change.

To increase the average customer stay time, you need to take an action that will improve your customer experience. Events, layout changes, and elevating the customer experience are just a few ways to keep your customers happy and in your doors longer.


4. Explore The Relationship Between Insights
Examining two insights can reveal even larger insights.

For example, look at your basket size compared with your stay time. Does it seem like basket size is abnormally small? Are stay times five minutes or less (also known ass micro-trips)?

There could be many reasons for these discrepancies, but with the growth of omnichannel marketing and online and in-store integration, Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) or “Click and Collect” services can lead to this type of in-and-out behavior.

So what actions can you take from that information?

You need to get the most out of these BOPIS purchases. And to do that, you need to entice your customers to stay in stores for longer periods of time while increasing their basket size and value. Actions you can take include adding impulse buys to the BOPIS counter and presenting special in-store offers to BOPIS buyers—your options are limitless.

5. Finally, Go Way Outside The Box
Like we discussed in our very first tip, you can take insights and plan straightfoward actions that are entirely valid and helpful for your business.

For example, if visitor analytics reveal that your new customer rates are high but your returning customer rates are low, you can try to engage those new customers in a rewards program or provide them with discounts for their next trip in. That’s what 55% of retail professional use their shopper insights for—improving customer loyalty.

But after you take these tried-and-true actions, think of more innovative ways to increase retention.

In order to keep visitors coming back again and again, you have to create a superior customer experience, something special that keeps them coming back for more. And one of the trendiest ways of doing this is by creating a community.

There are many ways to create a community centered around your store, but one of the easiest is to form a regular event that customers can attend and enjoy. These can range from running clubs to weeknight networking events—but remember: the more unique the event, the more attendees who will keep coming back for more.

Still having trouble creating actions from your insights? Learn why you might be struggling—and how you can overcome your challenges.

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