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Optimise your shopping centre’s buying experience with retail data analytics

Sep 02, 2021 • 13 min read

Physical retail spaces play a huge role in our communities. Utilising retail data analytics ensures your shopping centre creates authentic shopping experiences that simply cannot be found online. Capitalising on this to improve your buying experience provides a huge advantage against online retailers. So how can you ensure that you create incredible experiences for customers who visit your retail space?

ITVET’s retail data analytics software, Retail Report, enables you to view your customers’ preferences and behaviours from one single dashboard. New occupancy monitoring software stops your shoppers from being faceless people and mysterious statistics. Smart crowd retail analytics like Springboard and ShopperTrak enable you to deeply understand what your shoppers want from your retail estate, how they move around and engage with your space. Using tools like these equips you with this vital information, enabling you to drive the most value from your shopping centre. Making behavioural data-led decisions really caters for your shopper’s tastes on a personalised level whilst increasing your returns. Retail Report software pulls in all these retail data analytics into one data feed, putting your shopping centre on speed.

The Community and Personal Value of Physical Retail

Physical shopping is now experiential

Physical retail matters more than ever. Your shopping spaces cultivate direct relationships between customers, traders, and members of staff. Humans are emotional creatures who are powered directly by how we feel. This is never truer than when we spend our money. Many purchases are based on our emotions. We remember immersive shopping experiences, which keep us coming back for more. People don’t just visit shopping centres as a quick trip to purchase a specific item. Instead, they can spend many hours in one shopping centre if the environment inspires them.

There are many journeys your shopper could take throughout the day. You may find your shoppers browsing alone, relaxing while they thoughtfully curate a perfect gift for their loved one. They might pause to look closely at an item, picking it up and feeling the product and checking the quality. They could stop for a coffee, if your coffee shops are conveniently located within their buying journey. They may finish their day socially catching up with friends for food, followed by drinks in a relaxed environment. These experiences cannot be recreated while at home browsing online alone.

Customer Experience Management (CXM)

CXM plays a fundamental role in shaping the visitor experience at your shopping centre. It is the buying experience that is fundamental to retail, not individual products or services that are being purchased. Purchases are made based on your consumers’ emotions. It is up to your CXM strategy to ensure that your consumers are having the most enjoyable visit possible. Many shopping centres excel in their CXM. They create truly special shopping experience days and cherished memories. These shopping centres tend to be more modern ones that take a high-tech approach to their customer satisfaction. Immersive shopping experiences keep their car parks brimming and people queuing out the door.

Successful CXM examples

One example is Whitefriars in Canterbury; a city that holds two universities. There is an annual student shopping night hosted every October where retailers hold sales for one night only with student discounts. Retailers extend their opening hours for the event. The restaurants and bars also provide good deals tailored to students, so the event lasts hours. There is street entertainment, live music in the shopping centre, street food options, and fun giveaways. Whitefriars deeply understands their student demographics from their data. They took their retail analytics and created a hybrid social-shopping event tailored to their large student population. This pop-up sale guarantees their students an enjoyable social occasion, a chance to find some good deals and an opportunity to relax away from studying. Understanding your demographic can help you create tailored events to a more targeted audience.

Shopping can sometimes feel pressured. For example, if the Christmas deadline is fast approaching and shopping centres are busier than usual. How can you restore calm? You can create an uplifting experience. Calming carol singing, shiny baubles, seasonal smells, helpful staff, carefully curated stock, food and drink options close by and clean toilet facilities are some options. Being in this atmosphere, surrounded by other shoppers, you really feel like part of the festive season. You feel thankful to be part of the experience, rather than sat at home browsing online. Efforts like these transform your customer’s experiences and bring them back year after year.

Writer, Maya Angelou famously stated: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Most Managers don’t have hours to stay glued to security cameras trying to decipher their consumer behaviours. Thankfully, automated occupancy monitoring software makes this process much more accessible. Deeply understanding your visitors’ movements and even their emotions ensures that your retail environment is truly customer focused. Drilling down into your behavioural retail data analytics and understanding your customers’ tastes is key to this.

Creating powerful, memorable experiences

Pamela Wilson of Big Brand Experience explains “the world’s most recognisable brands offer a feeling and an experience.” What makes an experience memorable? Our five senses are intrinsically linked to our memory and emotion. Physical retailers have the advantage of engaging more of our senses. Harvard staff writer Colleen Walsh notes the influence of smell on our minds: “Today, the aroma of a home or office is big business. Scent branding is in vogue across a range of industries, including hotels that often pump signature scents into rooms and lobbies”. This achieves much more than brand identity. Scent is so powerful because a unique scent can spark a memory even from childhood. For example, theme parks like Chessington World of Adventures cleverly use distinctive scents to create immersive sensory experiences associated with their various rides. Scented environments improve the perception of product quality, and increase purchase intent. Scent is one data-led option to cater to the needs of your consumers. Using scents has the potential to encourage your consumers to relax and stay in your shopping centre for longer.

Knowing Each Customer’s Journey

How data is used in online retail

On the surface, it may seem that online retailers are able to collect and act on more data from their customers. This is not the case. The right retail data analytics software translates these digital strategies into physical retail performance. We can emulate the same convenience of online shopping within your physical shopping centre. Online retailers use user analytics data to drive their success. With this data, they price the product and alter how they market the product to the consumer. The same principles are true within physical retail.

Why is collecting data important

Collecting data is important because it allows the following:

  • Personalisation: Every consumer enjoys a personalised experience. With AI based behavioural analytics software, you know the demographics of everyone who enters. This includes age, gender, and their current behaviour. You can engineer your shopping experience towards your target demographic.
  • Predictive analytics: Consumer data assists retailers to identify consumer acts before they even take place. Retail Report algorithms enable you to forecast revenues per quarter. This data enables your shopping centre to gear up for demand and manage upcoming events smoothly.
  • Winning more sales and customers: A study showed that from 350 retailers and brand manufacturers, 81% of these respondents said they gather shopper insights and 76% believed these insights are critical to their performance.

How data analysis principles impact physical retail

Online retailers can see their customer journey. They know what advert worked to grab their customer’s attention; they know what makes a customer stop focusing. Bringing these principles to physical retail means offering more than a “build it and they will come” mentality. Crowd analytics software enables you to deeply understand your shoppers’ journeys. Do they stop for a coffee, at what point of their day, after what shop? Do they notice the new unit, are they intrigued by it? ITVET’s software Retail Report pulls in this valuable information in one central dashboard, together with all your other retail performance metrics. This approach could potentially smash your retail targets.

Many of our retail management clients use retail data analytics software for crowd monitoring and footfall counting. They also use AI based traffic monitoring software. These platforms, in addition to their public wi-fi usage statistics create truly powerful data insights. Retail Report software pulls in the data from all disparate systems, enabling seamless and convenient management.

This data driven approach benefits your customers by enhancing their buying experience. Convenience is fundamental. With powerful retail data insights, you can solve problems for your customers and satisfy them. By collecting and using key retail data analytics you can track your customers’ journeys and experiences. You can find out what has made them leave early, what caught their eye, who your customers are, and how they engage with your retail estate.

Smart technology drives further operational efficiencies

In addition to this, many retail centres are starting to adopt IoT and smart building principles to manage their crowds and facilities operation. Are people standing in long queues? Are there enough seating areas? Strategically placed sensors enable you to see how many people have used the toilets during the day so cleaning and restocking of soap are delivered exactly when needed. Collecting and acting on real-time data means you’re in the loop with every square foot of your retail estate. Building automation software like this doesn’t need you to be physically present, complete hundreds of surveys, or decipher hours of video footage. This focused approach inevitably leads to an enhanced buying experience for your customers.

ITVET’s Data Software

Retail Report aggregates all your shopping park’s data into one simple management console. You can view all your metrics at once. Providing a single software platform with one interface, you no longer need to track different data streams and second guess decisions. With over 39 powerful data features, Retail Report analyses all your real-time data at the touch of a button.

What data does Retail Report aggregate?

  • Customers: Deeply understand your buyers’ demographics. Automated crowd monitoring software like Springboard can determine a person’s age, gender and even mood. You can understand what features of your shopping centre attract specific demographics. If you are missing a certain age group, you can target units to bring that age group through the door. Perhaps you find single people in their twenties spend longer in your retail estate compared to families with young children. You could think of what is stopping families from staying another hour; maybe their children are not entertained. Cheshire Oaks’ is a great example of a retail estate that is tailored towards families. You can rent kids’ cabs at a low price, so the children have fun while parents browse. There is also a huge play area for the children.
  • Public Wi-Fi Usage: Retail Report shows you how many devices are connected to your Wi-Fi, and how long people use your Wi-Fi. Maybe they are working for a few hours. Maybe you can create a co-working unit inside your centre or provide more appropriate seating for these people.
  • Car Park: Retail Report collects and analyses your car park data, offering useful information including car numbers, dwell times, and visitor loyalty. You can use this to understand your busiest and quietest times, so you can optimise your car park income appropriately.
  • Footfall: You can rely on accurate footfall counting to understand your shopping centre’s performance. Are your visitors reacting to signs to change their customer journey? Are they walking long distances before finding toilets, somewhere to sit or somewhere to eat?
  • External forces and trends: Retail Report monitors external forces such as weather, traffic, local and wider events. It visualises these external forces in its in-built calendar. You will understand what events are stopping people from walking in one day, and what weather is the optimal condition for customers to enter your retail estate. Knowing these external forces means you can make changes that align with the particular circumstances to improve customer experience. This could include a pop-up frozen yoghurt unit during hot months, and a pop-up coffee unit during the cold months.

That’s five of many examples of the data that Retail Report aggregates. Retail Report also pulls in behavioural and buyer journey information, detailed performance reporting, sophisticated data manipulation tools and a vast array of sales functions. The software also includes many automated management & operational features, centralised marketing tasks, as well as tenant & lease management options.

How does this help you?

The benefits Retail Report delivers

  • Attract new tenants: Your tenants will be keen to trade in your asset because they can have their own Retail Report dashboard. The software delivers invaluable, real-time retail insights into every unit. If a tenant has opened a new business, they’re keen to have access to this data so they can alter the way they trade to align with their customers’ behaviours. It can benefit their marketing strategy moving forward once they understand their buyers’ behaviour.
  • Automated communication: Using the software, you can schedule text messages or calls to your tenants via the Retail Report cloud-based tenant communication service. This interactive service works around each retailer’s specific requirements. You can contact tenants at the most convenient times, with built-in “snooze” functions and reminders.
  • Efficient problem solving: Retail Report has real-time data streams 24/7 that provide immediate alerts when a problem occurs. This could be faulty equipment, too many people present, or any kind of hazard. With these immediate alerts, you can cut down your response times.
  • Reduced admin time: Managing a shopping centre is time-consuming because of the overwhelming amount of admin that limits you. Manual data collection and spreadsheet input are tasks of the past with Retail Report. You’re always in control without having to be present on your retail estate. With this guaranteed efficiency, you can drive your winning retail strategy, smashing your performance targets

It’s vital to turn your data into knowledge, so you can enhance the buying experience of every single customer. ITVET’s software, Retail Report, simplifies the process of analysing your retail data analytics by aggregating every data stream into one easy to use software. You can access this software from anywhere, on any device. Having this critical data in front of you vastly improves your decision-making abilities. Knowing who your customers are is key to boosting your retail estate’s performance. Want to find out how Retail Report can enhance your retail centre’s experience? Request a free demo today.

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