Any time you shop online, you can be sure that your every move is being tracked, analysed, and used to optimise the shopping experience to maximise conversions. For online retailers, adding sophisticated data analytics to their store can be as easy as just adding a few lines of code to each web page.
But what if it was possible to get the same kind of data about shopping activity in the physical world?
Advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and particularly the emerging field of video analytics, are starting to change that.
But just what is video analytics? And how does it work?
Capture Reach, Conversions and Activity
Video analytics leverages your existing security camera infrastructure to track customer activity in store. By combining the video feed with advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology, video analytics can build a comprehensive picture of customer behaviour in your store.
At its most basic level, a video analytics solution can be used to build heat maps of customer traffic around the store. Armed with this data on how your customers navigate the store, you can begin to optimise your layout. For example, you can identify low and high traffic areas, and redeploy your merchandise in order to maximise revenue.
This data can also help you identify traffic issues in the store, such as congestion at the checkouts. These are the kind of issues that can degrade the customer experience, potentially leading to lost sales, so being able to understand when and how congestion forms allows you to takes steps to alleviate the problem, such as redeploying your staff to the busiest times, or optimising your store layout.
Depending on the placement of your security cameras, video analytics can also give you important information about what happens outside your storefront, allowing you to track and target potential customers who pass by but do not enter.
Facial Recognition and Demographics
Adding facial recognition and machine learning technology to the mix brings another dimension: video analytics solutions can now give you demographic information about your customers. That means you can build a detailed picture of who is shopping with you, and optimise your approach to target those customers. That means you don't need to rely on intuition and gut feeling to plan your in store marketing activity. Now you can have data to underpin those activities.
With real-time (or near real-time) data being fed through to your analytics platform, you can also rapidly validate the success (or failure) of your in store marketing activity. You can even adapt your approach on-the-fly based on the data you receive.
Integrate with POS, Loyalty and App Data
Working in isolation, video analytics already provides many benefits to bricks and mortar retailers. But the real power comes from integrating with other data sources. That means your Point of Sale (POS) data, your customer loyalty data, as well as data from your smartphone application when customers access this in store.
By combining this data through a unified data analytics solution, you can start to build a detailed picture of your customers, their behaviour, and your store performance.