How can brick-and-mortar retailers avoid boxing in the dark?

Juha Mattsson

Bricks-and-mortar retailers can avoid boxing in the dark with retail analytics

Even though ecommerce has been growing its presence, physical retail is not disappearing. According to the estimates by McKinsey & Company, about 85% of retail value is still expected to be generated in bricks-and-mortar in 2025.

However, the weakness of bricks-and-mortar, compared to other channels, is that it is currently boxing in the dark. Although, according to Accenture , 72% of retail leaders demand data-driven decisions from their organisations, physical retailers lack the tools to gather actionable insight of their customers’ shopping experience.In order to carry out fact-based improvements, retailers need to understand their customers’ shopping patterns in their stores.

The walk-through example from last week explained that a retail analytics solution should be seen as the starting point for developing modern in-store marketing. This week we provide even more hands-on examples to explain the use of retail analytics solution as an enabler of a modern omni-channel marketing campaign. This time we explain it from a customer’s perspective.

How a fashion retailer activates a customer based on a store visit?

John is looking to buy a new pair of jeans. He researches online and basically decides on the brand and the model. He chooses to visit his favourite store to make the purchase, but can't find the right model and size combination and realises that the queue for the cashier is quite long. John decides to give up and buy the jeans some other day. Next day, while browsing the web, he comes across a retargeted advertisement of a webstore offering a small discount for exactly the same jeans he was planning to buy. The jeans were also the right size. John is happy to have made the purchase with two clicks.

You may think that in real life many more variables affect John’s buying journey. This may be true, but the point here is that a retailer can nowadays activate buying with such targeted and personalised ways that were not possible just few years ago. 

Specialty retail needs to respond to the demand for an omni-channel experience

Specialty retail has been bleeding customers to online channels at increasing rates for the last decade. In the beginning, online stores used to compete mainly with price, but today the web has become the most natural shopping environment for many. Online stores focus on delivering the best possible shopping experience that triggers maximum buying, while physical stores struggle to keep up with the changing customer needs and preferences.

Concepts like show-rooming (browsing in-store, buying online) and web-rooming (browsing online, buying in-store) are used to describe new shopping habits. Today, customers are regularly engaging in different channels, in addition to the actual channel of purchase. When looking at the big picture, customers demand an omni-channel experience, in which they can seamlessly do shopping through various channels when it is the most convenient for them. The evidence of multichannel shopping is indisputable. According to PWC, 73% of US consumers research online before buying clothing, footwear or health and beauty products.

Feel free to contact us in case you would like to know more precisely how we at Walkbase can help you to manage omni-channel marketing and create better shopping experiences for John and his peers.

You can contact us here or reach out to me directly on LinkedIn.

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Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.