Real Properties

Using Big Data to Create Location-Aware Businesses

Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at multichannel shopping. Retailers need to adapt through a deeper understanding of who customers are.



Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at multichannel shopping, in turn, thrusting change on the retail landscape. Retailers need to adapt rapidly to this shift by way of a deeper understanding of who their customers are

In an era of consumer hyperconnectivity and fierce competition among retailers online and offline, the competitive advantage merchants crave is the ability to determine how real-time data from visitors to their bricks-and-mortar locations can be tracked as a means of improving customer service and giving sales a sustainable lift.

Retailers typically track marketing campaigns based upon sales conversion at the till. Traffic counters may also be used to track an uptick in visitors through the period of the marketing campaign. What is missing, though, is the ability to track specific behaviors within a store that may have been impacted by a campaign. This is where the metrics like those generated from e-commerce platforms are particularly attractive.

According to a 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers report entitled, “Understanding How U.S. Online Shoppers are Reshaping the Retail Experience”, 88% of American consumers conduct research online before they make a purchase but it doesn’t solely lead to online purchases, it leads to purchases through other channels and in driving traffic to bricks-and-mortar outlets. Furthermore, the report states retailers need to align their business operating models with consumer sophistication and expectations, adding, “this will require changes in the way retailers track and measure consumer behavior.”

The Importance of Bricks-and-Mortar Intelligence

The ability for bricks-and-mortar shops to collect data in real-time on people visiting their locations (or if they’re nearby), and potentially influencing them to become paying customers is only a starting point. Using analytics reports akin to what websites provide to measure customer behavior, merchants can help improve customer experiences in several ways including:

  • Shortening customer transaction times. Are there mile-long lineups at the cash registers due to inefficient shopping experiences? Gaining insight into customer traffic patterns can spur decisions to optimize space and help customers move efficiently through the sales process.
  • Addressing customer needs more effectively. Send hot ticket item offers directly to customers via their mobile devices. Are your customers leaving within moments of walking through the door because no staff member greets them or offers assistance? See where the customer experience may fall short.
  • Recognizing repeat customers. Customer loyalty may be fleeting even in the best of times but knowing who your most loyal customers are by identifying the number of times they visit your location can turn them into fans who will tell others about your business. If they suddenly cease to frequent your store, you need to know why. Keep tabs on your most ardent customers and determine how to improve customer service and increase sales.

Using a customizable physical space monitoring platform that pinpoints human traffic flow patterns by monitoring a number of technologies, and which generates real-time data isn’t limited to the retail merchandise industry. On the contrary, it can be used in any number of industries or large complex facilities to identify and monitor peoples’ movement patterns, improve navigation experiences with wayfinding capabilities, and alert staff when crowds crop up.

Choose a Holistic, Customizable Solution

However, not all location analysis solutions are alike or can be tailored to suit your particular focus. Most providers in this space out a one-size-fits-all approach. Be sure the solution you’re weighing is:

  • A customizable platform that works indoors and outdoors. Whether you’re monitoring people traffic inside a small store, a large conference hall, or a public space outside, the ability to effectively see how spaces are utilized can provide important insights. An interactive analytics dashboard and reporting that draws data from multiple sensor technologies, and is tailored to suit your particular focus from a vendor that also offers data analysis services should top your list.
  • Tracking everything happening in your building or space in real time. Not only is it important to track and analyze people traffic to improve customer service or security, but it’s also equally valuable to understand how resources are being used. For example, by identifying areas where few people congregate, you can improve energy efficiency by linking presence to building automation systems like lighting and heating/cooling.
  • Flexible and integrates with your existing software platforms. You should be able to capture the metrics you require by zone and easily integrate that data with your existing customer relationship management and business intelligence software, or sales database systems like Furthermore, integrating your movement data with 3-D visualizations can help you to understand space utilization, flow over multiple levels, and display mobile app use.

Want to see how Spatial DNA’s PeopleFlow platform can give you the insights you need to create a location-aware building or business? Contact us to book a demo and get the performance metrics you need.

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