What does the store of the future look like?
What exactly is the store of the future? Well, this is the question that every successful retailer wants to know today. Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball and predicting the future is a fool’s errand. However, there are definitely some characteristics of the future that we can see today.
It is clear that the future is focused on data. This includes the ability to collect it, process it and analyze it. The goal is to generate insights using the data to improve your business and engage with your customers more effectively.
Now, if it were only that easy. Things would be great if we had immediate access to all of the data that we want or need to understand what is happening in the business. If this was the case, the focus would exclusively be on analyzing the data in order to generate meaningful insights. However, the challenge is that most of the data that you need for a holistic view of the business is not readily available, difficult to obtain and incomplete.
Customer data is especially challenging for retailers with physical stores. The ability to know who is shopping in your stores, where they are spending time in your stores, what they are buying, why are they buying it and if they are satisfied are all critical insights in today’s retail environment. However, the answers to these questions are elusive for most retailers. How do you generate meaningful insights on your customers and strategies for your business without this information?
Finding ways to obtain this data can seem like a daunting task. How do you collect this data for all of your customers who interact with your stores… not just a select few? This requires innovative solutions that can scale up to cover every aspect of your retail operation both online and in-store.
Well where do you start? First, you need an advance store system solution that can integrate with a wide variety of data collection solutions to be the foundation in the store. The advanced store system solution must be able to gather and consolidate the data so that it is easily actionable for the business.
The next step is to use innovative solutions to gather very specific observations and information about your customers. The key is to find the right solution that can effectively capture the required data as well as scale up to the overall scope of your business for all stores and all customer touchpoints. These solutions need to be specialists in their core areas as well flexible enough to integrate with the overall store system platform.
We believe that there are two key data collection areas that are critical starting points for all retailers. The two areas include real-time customer insights and customer journey information.
Customer insights is the ability to engage with your customers as they make a purchase in your store. It is the ability to gather specific feedback from them regarding the shopping experience, your products and other aspects of your business. This feedback become tremendously more valuable when you can obtain it from nearly every customer, in every store, from every transaction throughout the entire day.
Many retailers collect traffic count information in and out of their stores. However, the customer journey provides data about who entered your store, if they were a repeat visitor, where and how much time they spent within your stores and if they made a purchase. It allows you to know as much about your visitors as you do about the customers who made a purchase.
Once you gather this data, you need the right tools and solution to store it and analyze it. You need an analytics solution that provides a scaleable data warehouse and business intelligence capability. Ideally, this solution would reside in the cloud and be easy to use and access for all members of your team throughout your organization using tools that they are already familiar with such as Microsoft Excel.
The best part is that the solutions outlined above are available today from Accuvia Software Group. We offer an advanced store system platform that can capture transaction and loyalty data from all of your stores and centralize this data in a cloud-based central office platform. We provide standard APIs for easy integration with outside solutions that contribute additional data and provide tools to analyze and utilize the data.
Accuvia Software Group is also partnering with some very innovative solutions such as TruRating for customer insights, FastSensor for the customer journey and Infodepth for the data warehouse and analytics. Together between ASG and our partners, we provide the systems foundation that retailers can use to build the store of the future for their specific business.
Accuvia Software Group will be exhibiting at the NRF show in New York in January. We will be demonstrating a comprehensive solution for retailers that including our advanced POS and Loyalty solutions along with innovative solutions from TruRating, FastSensor and Infodepth. Together we make a powerful team ready to bring the store of the future to our retail clients today.