TECH­NOL­OGY

Trea­sure Hunt

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents - By John Karolef­ski

Un­der­stand cus­tomers by track­ing their paths through the store.

Han­naford Su­per­mar­kets has em­bed­ded RFID chips into the shop­ping carts of its 68,000-square­foot store in Bed­ford, N.H. The Scar­bor­ough, Maine-based gro­cer, a di­vi­sion of Ahold Del­haize, wants to track the paths of shop­pers around the store.

This is just the lat­est ex­am­ple of gro­cers us­ing so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy to study shop­per be­hav­ior. For sev­eral years, spe­cial cam­eras in the ceil­ings recorded cus­tomer move­ments in many stores around the coun­try.

Why track shop­pers?

Ac­cord­ing to Han­naford Pres­i­dent Mike Vail, the in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from the chips will help im­prove the place­ment of prod­ucts through­out the chain’s stores. Tech­nolo­gies that anony­mously track shop­pers can help in op­ti­miz­ing al­most all as­pects of store de­sign, mer­chan­dis­ing and mar­ket­ing, adds Ra­jeev Sharma, founder and CEO of State Col­lege, Pa.-based Video­min­ing Corp., which stud­ies in­store shop­per be­hav­ior for re­tail­ers and brands.

“Given the chang­ing com­pet­i­tive land­scape that is spilling over from the brick and mor­tar to on­line chan­nels, it is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for gro­cery re­tail­ers to de­velop ca­pa­bil­i­ties for un­der­stand­ing the in-store be­hav­ior of their shop­pers,” ex­plains Sharma. “In essence, these new tech­nolo­gies en­able tra­di­tional gro­cery re­tail­ers to have the same level of un­der­stand­ing about their shop­pers as on­line re­tail­ers such as Ama­zon.”

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Chicago-based trade as­so­ci­a­tion Shop! (for­merly POPAI North Amer­ica), three out of four of all pur­chase de­ci­sions (76 per­cent) are made in the store. Ob­vi­ously, en­gag­ing shop­pers along the path to pur­chase is one of the most im­por­tant chal­lenges fac­ing re­tail­ers and con­sumer pack­aged goods man­u­fac­tur­ers. Many an­a­lysts be­lieve that the best way to do so is to start by track­ing the shop­pers’ paths, which pro­vide clues about where to place prod­ucts and dis­plays in the store’s lay­out.

“Un­der­stand­ing a shop­per’s path through the store high­lights op­por­tu­ni­ties to cross-mer­chan­dise prod­ucts and al­lows re­tail­ers and po­ten­tially branded CPGS the op­por­tu­nity to tailor of­fers based on a shop­per’s in-store be­hav­ior,” says Randy Burt, who leads the Amer­i­cas gro­cery prac­tice at New York­based con­sul­tancy A.T. Kear­ney. “Video analytics and di­rect ob­ser­va­tion are the more ma­ture meth­ods to de­ter­mine the path shop­pers are tak­ing.” “The path of your shop­per can tell you what ar­eas you need to grow or re­duce, and pro­vide in­sight into the mo­ti­va­tions and in­ter­ests of your cus­tomers,” notes Bharat Ru­pani, pres­i­dent of San Diego-based In­ter­ac­tions Mar­ket­ing, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in prod­uct demon­stra­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence mar­ket­ing. “For ex­am­ple, if you’re find­ing most shop­pers shop the perime­ter of the store in the evenings for din­ner and never touch the cen­ter store, you likely have a lo­ca­tion in an area of the store with busy shop­pers who re­spond best to con­ve­nience. There are sev­eral

These new tech­nolo­gies en­able tra­di­tional gro­cery re­tail­ers to have the same level of un­der­stand­ing about their shop­pers as on­line re­tail­ers such as Ama­zon. — Ra­jeev Sharma Video­min­ing Corp.

ways to de­ter­mine this path, in­clud­ing depart­ment and cat­e­gory analy­ses, shop­per in­ter­cept sur­veys, and mys­tery shops.

“Un­der­stand­ing how a shop­per in­ter­acts with the store — which aisles they en­ter, how long they spend in dif­fer­ent aisles, which types of prod­ucts they spend time read­ing la­bels — can help re­tail­ers de­ter­mine, for ex­am­ple, op­ti­mal place­ment of demos and spe­cial dis­play lo­ca­tions, where to place prod­uct to en­cour­age im­pulse pur­chases, cross-mer­chan­dis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and over­all flow,” adds Ru­pani.

Ben­e­fits of Track­ing

Julie Sch­lack, SVP of in­no­va­tion and de­sign at Bos­ton- and New York-based brand ad­viser C Space, be­lieves in the strate­gic use of shop­ping-path data that let gro­cers iden­tify all of the dis­crete fac­tors that pre­cede a prod­uct pur­chase. For ex­am­ple, video track­ing and bea­cons can cre­ate heat maps de­pict­ing how many peo­ple are walk­ing through each aisle, where they’re paus­ing, how long they’re spend­ing in front of each prod­uct cat­e­gory, and the like.

Sch­lack and Cur­tis Tin­gle, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Livo­nia, Mich.-based Valas­sis, list sev­eral ben­e­fits of track­ing the paths of shop­pers other than the proper place­ment of dis­plays and sam­pling sta­tions:

• Help­ing gro­cers re­or­ga­nize the prod­uct lay­out to boost traf­fic in un­der­vis­ited aisles

• Know­ing where shop­pers go in-store — and don’t go — and how of­ten they visit spe­cific de­part­ments • Un­der­stand­ing where in the store they linger ver­sus where they breeze by, which as­sists re­tail­ers in mak­ing lay­out, planogram and as­sort­ment de­ci­sions “Know­ing a typ­i­cal shop­per’s path in­forms the store of what shop­pers want and need,” says In­ter­ac­tions’ Ru­pani. “If they’re shop­ping the perime­ter and you want to grow cen­ter store, en­tic­ing end cap dis­plays or prod­uct demon­stra­tions fea­tur­ing cen­ter store items can help al­ter the shop­per path to im­prove ar­eas with flat or de­clin­ing sales. Ad­di­tion­ally, the knowl­edge of what drives shop­pers — be it value, con­ve­nience, health and well­ness, or lux­ury — must be a key part in plan­ning any store set or refresh. There is a pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion be­tween how well a store re­flects the needs and be­hav­iors of the com­mu­nity it serves and its sales, shop­per sat­is­fac­tion and loy­alty.”

Not ev­ery­one agrees on the use and value of so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy to track the paths of shop­pers through a gro­cery store. Dr. Bil­lie Blair, an or­ga­ni­za­tional psy­chol­o­gist and pres­i­dent/ceo of Mur­ri­eta, Calif.-based Change Strate­gists, a large in­ter­na­tional man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm, opts for the sim­ple ap­proach.

“If a gro­cer wants to know about which store lay­outs are pre­ferred by cus­tomers, then ask them,” Blair says. “Don’t do any­thing ridicu­lous like ‘track­ing cus­tomer trips.’ How could that pos­si­bly tell them any­thing, other than the cus­tomer is for­get­ful or the store lay­out is con­fus­ing? How could this pos­si­bly be known with­out ask­ing the cus­tomer? It’s a very sim­ple mat­ter to de­sign a quick ques­tion­naire for query­ing cus­tomers. Good grief! Why all the pseu­do­science guess­work? Just ask the cus­tomers al­ready!”

While such opin­ions have value in the over­all dis­cus­sion of track­ing shop­per paths, they’re out­liers among gro­cery an­a­lysts. Most of them see the value of us­ing tech­nol­ogy to de­pict how many peo­ple are walk­ing through each aisle, where they’re paus­ing, how long they’re spend­ing in front of each prod­uct cat­e­gory, and so on.

“While these meth­ods may help gro­cers boost cat­e­gory sales,” says C Space’s Sch­lack, “they’re only ben­e­fi­cial if they en­hance the over­all shop­per ex­pe­ri­ence.”

There is a pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion be­tween how well a store re­flects the needs and be­hav­iors of the com­mu­nity it serves and its sales, shop­per sat­is­fac­tion and loy­alty. — Bharat Ru­pani In­ter­ac­tions Mar­ket­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.