Retail is one of the most dynamic, exciting and competitive sectors. Whether you’re a retailer or manufacturer, it is more important than ever for you to understand how shoppers behave. In our ‘Understanding shoppers’ series of blogs, we share our latest thinking. We tackle a variety of topics – from channels, to branding, to new approaches to insight, and beyond.
Here we address how to maximize online and offline channels to understand shoppers.
Keeping it real: Bringing online and offline behavior together (part 1 of 3)
Who better to tell you how shoppers behave than shoppers themselves? Shopper data, whether captured online or in person, holds the key to continued business success. Digital marketplace and online shopper data can provide a source of inspiration for bricks and mortar stores. The key is to understand the total marketplace, and to use data on each channel to your advantage.
‘If you can understand who is shopping for what online, you can use those insights offline’
Online trials justify in-store placement
The online marketplace offers a great opportunity to launch new products. Kerry Foods provides one example of how this can be used to great effect. The brand’s move to offer product samples via online supermarket Ocado and solicit reviews online has been extremely effective. Having trialed products online, the brand has secured on-shelf placement and built repeat purchase in-store.
As Kerry Foods’ success shows, insights from online sales can be used to great effect in bricks and mortar locations. If you can understand who is shopping for what online, you can use those insights offline.
Real-time insights into who’s shopping for which brands and how enables fashion discounter site BrandAlley to improve its performance. But they also provide fashion brands that distribute products via the site with critical intelligence. Pandora, for example, identified online sales coming from geographical locations where it didn’t have stores. Aquascutum, alternatively, saw that those shopping online for its brand were much younger than those shopping in-store. On examining this issue, it concluded that its store environment was too traditional. It then changed the look and feel of its physical stores to appeal to Millennials. The lesson here is to embrace online shopper data and use it to understand the total marketplace.
A total perspective – but keep it real
Understanding shoppers in the real world remains distinctly challenging. But a wide number of techniques for doing this exist to choose from. These range from in-store observations via cameras or in-person, eye-tracking and view tracking , and even biometric monitoring. Technological advances and mobile research further increase our ability to understand shopper behavior. We can, for example, now use geo-fencing to target respondents at specific locations. But can we expect shoppers to behave naturally when they are wearing eye-trackers or other monitoring devices. And if we cannot, can we still collect information that is meaningful and valuable enough? We probably can. However, it’s time for our industry to take another more serious look at how we record what shoppers do. For we need to collect this information in addition to asking them questions. Only then can we overcome any disconnect between what shoppers do and what they say.
further increase the ability to understand shopper behavior’
Photo courtesy of Tobii pro
The key to a successful retail strategy lies in understanding consumer behavior across all channels. Retailers and manufacturers must combine numerous behavioral data sources to develop an understanding of the total marketplace. In doing so, they will have a more holistic view of the consumer, and be poised for success.