IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 19 Jul 2016

The future of retail as seen in Porto: II

Last week, our Chairman Alan Morris visited our partners Inovretail in Porto to share our ideas and discuss innovation in retail, and talk about latest retail technology news.

Firstly, congratulations are in order to Inovretail, who have been invested in by Sonae IM! It’s great to see such an innovative business being invested in by Sonae, who have a mission to support and build world-class tech companies. We’re proud to have partnered with Inovretail last year to launch our Analytics module, which you can read about here.

So, what’s new in retail technology?

Customer Experience Lab

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Inovretail’s Customer Experience Lab was a big takeaway from the trip, which forms a critical part of any retailer’s in-store analytics. In establishing a baseline of store performance, proactive data analysis forms clear methods for increasing the store’s efficiency, and developing more opportunities to sell more stock, increasing profits.

In recent years, with digital presence dominating the agenda, retailers’ website analytics have been prioritised. Web visits, heat mapping, basket analysis, and of course the crucial conversion rate – the number of visitors that make a sale – this wealth of information has informed digital team’s approaches to online retailing.

But what about the store? Is your in-store environment analysed in the same way in which your website might be? In most cases the answer is no, and as such, your conversion rate will be jeopardised by a huge margin. There’s much to learn from in-store behaviour.

UK retail footfall fell by 2.8% year-on-year in June 2016, marking the sharpest decline since February 2014, and the poorest monthly result for more than two years. Although this is due to post-Brexit fallout and low consumer confidence, retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The store is an asset, and must be maximised. So, how can you offset the effects of falling footfall within the store? The key is understanding how it works in order to sell more: increase basket value, and increase conversion rate.

For example, customers who use a fitting room are 71% more likely to buy, according to Inovretail’s data research. Their technology, See Wall, is an innovative fitting room software that revolutionises the in-store experience. Removing the customer need to call a sales assistant, awkward and half-dressed, for another size, they simply touch a tablet inside their booth which sends an automatic message to sales assistants on the shop floor via wearable tech. Given that trying something on increases likelihood of conversion, this is a crucial aspect of store shopping that Inovretail is making more effective.

In addition, through the use of technology, the fitting room can be transformed from a private space into an interactive arena to upsell to the customer. If the dress fits, why not project a shoppable selection of matching shoes, or accessories, available with just a touch? Fitting rooms apps should be used as a selling aid, as well as a customer experience enabler.

As well as identifying opportunities to improve customer experience further, using the fitting room example above, its also crucial to build upon your baseline, to prevent negative experiences.

For example, the effect of temperature was the most influential factor in customer store dropout rates: Inovretail recorded a 40% reduction in conversion rates when the temperature was above 26 degrees centigrade, making the customer uncomfortable, unlikely to try items on, and even less likely to remain in-store.

Customer Experience Lab collates in-store analytics such as atmospherics (temperature, humidity, noise levels), footfall, customer demographic profiling, and the all-important conversion rate. As we all know, it’s no use having masses of data, unless you do something with it. That’s why, as part of the service, Inovretail are dedicated to analysing the data, and coach their customers on how they can use it to make a difference and drive improvements through their analytics toolset.

retail IT services

Mapping analytics onto the physical store is paramount to successful omnichannel retailing. Merging physical and digital worlds, a “phygital” approach is needed. Your store could be the biggest untapped source of potential, with more opportunities to sell more stock at full price.

Get in touch with us here for more information about going “phygital”. Or maybe we’ll just stick with omnichannel…

Read our original Porto future of retail blog here.

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