Future of Retail

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Data acquisition in bricks and mortar retail

The use of digital technologies for optimising the purchasing process

15.02.2017

“Data is the commodity of the 21st century.”

This is the quote with which Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a German signal to German companies in advance of Cebit 2016, telling them to keep pace with the pioneering field of data processing – which is essential in today’s changing environment. Communicate, inform, transfer – in the digital age, the majority of everyday interaction takes place using advanced technological channels, and in particular the internet. This includes the production of tremendous quantities of information, as the digitisation of our everyday lives is the determining factor for private individuals and business people alike. Information collected through targeted analysis with the aid of state-of-the-art software algorithms results in new opportunities across all sectors, and particularly for retail.

 

Smart sales floors mean reliable planning in all areas.

With a consistent focus on customer needs as a benchmark, the use of consumer data for bricks and mortar retail is an important starting point for process optimisation. The more information retail stores have available about their customers, the more tailored an approach they can take to meeting their customers’ needs. For example, data acquisition provides reliable information as to how popular an item is with consumers, thereby enabling improved coordination of incoming and outgoing goods. To this end, products and shopping trolleys, among other elements, are integrated into a non-personalised, digital recording system. This enables the customers’ routes through the store to be tracked and optimised accordingly. The amount of time spent in front of a specific product can also provide interesting information. If the customer spends a long time in front of a certain group of goods, but does not make a purchase from this group, this may indicate incorrect product placement or positioning.

Furthermore, information about how often customers visit the store opens up new opportunities in planning personnel deployment. For example, if data analysis shows that customer frequency is particularly high at certain times, the retailer may consider providing additional service staff for these periods, to even further improve the shopping experience.

 

Networked offline shopping – individual alignment and offers    

The internet means that customers are significantly better informed than they used to be. As shown by a study by auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, 64% of buyers now check products offered before entering the store. In this age of an omnichannel world, the consumer himself gathers information about competitor prices even while shopping in a specific store. In this context, the targeted collection and analysis of his digital data may be utilised as an advantage for the customer. If the retailer knows his personal preferences, the offer can be tailored accordingly.

Apps that the customer downloads to his smartphone enable his data to be compared with the supermarket system, and conclusions may be reached that are similar to those obtained when digitally recording goods and shopping trolley contents. Preferences such as customers’ routes within the stores or preferred brands can be taken into account for strategic store alignment. This enables the arrangement of goods to be tailored even more specifically to customer taste by presenting popular items in a targeted way; this can be achieved by setting up special promotional areas or discount promotions. For the consumer, this targeted optimisation of store processes therefore not only represents savings in terms of time, but also money.

But how can the visitor to the store be sure that his information is protected? In the digital age, bricks and mortar retail must convince customers that data – as the most important commodity of the future – is handled responsibly, and credibly reinforce this through cutting-edge security technologies and clearly defined ethical guidelines.

 

An improved shopping experience thanks to comprehensive digitisation  

Integrated solutions are an essential part of ensuring a successful balance between customer focus and data security. The customer must be able to rely on his digital information only being collected and processed in order to optimise and improve his personal shopping experience. Wanzl Connect provides an answer to where the digital journey through retail is leading. It is a centralised, modular system that can be used to control all in-store processes and improve procedures in branches.

The Smart Trolley is an fundamental component in this software-based application, and is a constant companion to the customer, on the shopping trolley or handbasket. Equipped with RFID technology (RFID = Radio-Frequency Identification), it provides the retailer with precise numbers, enabling it to adapt the store to best possible effect. Wanzl Customer Connect is another software component that can be integrated into existing retail apps, and which also enables customer-specific information to be obtained. For example, technology enables the networking of pre-saved shopping lists on the store visitor’s mobile end device. The supermarket trip becomes a refined experience when the digital shopping list is adjusted based on indoor navigation, and the shortest route through the store makes for perfect time savings. Another benefit is the use of the system to increase customer loyalty, as for example it enables personalised coupons or promotional videos to be placed in store as a buying incentive.  

Here, information security is priority number one. Wanzl guarantees maximum data protection through collaboration with Microsoft Azure, one of the top certified clouds on the market. This security is ensured through cutting-edge encryption technologies and the strict limitation of Microsoft rights to administration processes, without any other claims to customer data.         

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