If there’s one key difference between online and in-store shopping, it’s the ability to collect intent data that gives retailers and edge to optimize future purchase behaviors. Retail marketers have been collecting online behavioural shopping data for well over a decade, but in-store behavioral data collection has proved to be perplexing. In the physical store, it’s not as simple as implementing a browser cookie to track shopper behavior. Some retailers might ask for an email address at checkout, which could provide information on the purchases already made, but the most valuable data to increase future sales is behaviors and preferences that represent purchases still under consideration.
Over the past few years, in-store Wi-Fi, MAC addresses, beacons and NFC have come together to provide vast amounts of data on in-store shopping to understand the true value of the physical store in their omnichannel efforts. At a time when people spend so much time online, it’s essential for the material world around us to integrate with our digital world to make our lives continuous and increasingly efficient. In-store data collection through digital devices can and should work in tandem to create complementary experiences on both sides of online/offline dichotomy.
In-store data collection tailors the online experience post-visit for shoppers
Traditionally, online has been a place where multiple visits to the website are continuous. Shoppers can create a wish list and cookie data is used to tailor content for repeat visits. Whether this is active or passive on the customer’s behalf, the experience can be personal. But the store has not been part of that equation. A journey can start online with a wishlist, but then multiple store visits representing vast amounts of interest and intent are lost. The store should be digitally personalized, as the website, and the website experience following the store should use and reflect the physical intent data. The power of feeling something physical and receiving personalized interaction digitally afterward is critical to a continuous experience. Shoppers should no longer need to sift through endless aisles of items they’re not interested in and that will become unacceptable in the future. While online retailers gather real-time intelligence on shoppers to predict certain actions to drive them down the funnel, the same processes can be used to amplify the effectiveness after their store visit.
How do you build an omnichannel team that “gets” store data?
As you recruit and build an omnichannel team to change the course of your brand, all digital data and the people who can help you gather and optimize it are not the same. L2 recently published in their Intelligence Report on omnichannel marketing that leaders like Macy’s have omnichannel teams disproportionately from store management and store planning backgrounds. This is in comparison to competitors’ omnichannel teams whom the majority come from e-commerce. The point is that digital data comes from the website and the store now. The first chapter was about online, but it still only represents 10% of retail sales. Don’t confuse digital data and omnichannel with online and e-commerce. Recruit people who get it – in the store, online and all things now being digital. The immensity of digital intent data in the store is only just starting to be understood. Start now.