IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 7 Sep 2015

The Future of Retail: as seen in Porto

Retail Assist’s Executive Chairman, Alan Morris, and Strategic Partnerships Director, Gary Broughton, have recently returned from an interesting and informative business trip to Porto, Portugal. Our hosts, and great business partners, Inovretail, gave us an invaluable insight into their latest innovations in retail technology.

Today’s blog will round up some of the cutting-edge retail technology solutions explored in Porto, as well as some of the city’s interesting retail attractions.

Inovretail’s focus areas are customer experience, store efficiency and predictive retail. A thought-provoking concept we brought back to the UK was the important role of reactive analytics in enabling predictive retail for retailers.

  • In-store analytics

With online shopping becoming ever more popular, and physical retail space a highly valuable asset, the in-store experience must be absolutely ideal to ensure better conversion rates for retailers. Inovretail’s deep understanding of the store environment is shaped by cutting edge analytics tools. Increasing customer dwell time in an optimum store environment will increase successful conversion.

For example, the effect of temperature was the most influential factor in customer store dropout rates: Inovretail recorded a 40% reduction in conversion 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.

In-store analytics also helps a retailer to ascertain how to sell more stock at full price in-store.

New customer profiling tools can plot a customer journey through the store, working out where the customer spends the most time, and the way in which they move around different departments. Why are your store staff spread out, when customers are tending to congregate on one side of the store? Why do customers favour a certain area of the store over another? These are questions that layout analytics and customer mapping can help to answer.

Layout analytics can also point towards reasons for the success/failure of promotional rails. Are they in premium position? Do they work near the tills as a last-ditch attempt to appeal to the customer? Alternatively, are heavily visible discounted items jeopardising the sale of full priced stock?

This helpful diagram from Inovretail is a simple way to think about this method of analytics:

Retail IT Support


Aside from learning a lot about retail tech and analytics, our Directors were given a taste of the Portuguese retail experience. A concept book store, Livaria Lello, made quite an impression.

Customers pay €3 to enter, and if you make a purchase, the entry fee is refunded. Whether it was the gimmick of paying to enter, the overwhelming magic of the interior, or the fact that the store inspired J.K Rowling’s literary design of Hogwarts library (she lived and worked in Porto in the 1990s), it certainly impressed our Executive Chairman enough to spread the word and develop a buzz around the in-store experience offered.

In summary, we’ll quote Hugo Lopes, Head of Product at Inovretail. This is something every retailer should bear in mind when investing in improving customer experience:

“The retail store environment is a jungle, where everything matters”

Retail Assist recently launched Merret Analytics, the out-of-the-box, actionable analytics tool, in partnership with Inovretail. For more information about our latest retail IT solution, visit its dedicated webpage here.

If the Future of Retail has piqued your interest, stay tuned for more articles soon.

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