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Connected stores – are you ready?

Transforming store fleet through technology

What is a store of the future? This is one of the smartest questions retailers can ask themselves today and one we hear often. When most people think of connected stores, they imagine iPads, interactive screens, smart mirrors and adaptive displays. Interestingly, when you go into a store equipped with these whizz-bang items, people are rarely using them. That’s because even though they look nice, these fancy objects don’t always address people’s needs. Most retailers make this mistake and install technology that their customers don’t care about, but there are some who are getting it right.

Think like a scientist

We’ve recently joined forces with some of the smartest people in the field to learn more about the future of retail and how to leverage in-store technology to make smart, data-driven decisions that will help you transform your entire store fleet into connected stores. We’ll soon be releasing an in-depth paper with our findings, giving you the information you need to design stores of the future that standout in today’s changing retail landscape.

What if we told you the most valuable technology for your store might not be technology your customers can see? In fact, the most valuable technology is often not even noticeable to customers. Right now, most retailers design stores without data. They work from a creative mindset and assume they don’t have the information they need to make data-driven decisions about brick and mortar stores. But times are changing.

Amazon.com and Alibaba are approaching their new shops with data-fuelled and scientific mindsets. The technology they leverage gathers data that helps them make educated decisions about how to choose a store concept. We think there’s a lot to learn from this mindset. 

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Revolutionise the way you make decisions

Online, it’s easy to monitor customer behaviour and gather data that helps you tailor your approach to meet customer needs. You can track what products don’t get converted: someone adds a sweater to their virtual shopping cart, but they never buy it. In brick and mortar stores, RFID tagging lets you monitor the same action offline. Most retailers already know what products get purchased, but with RFID tagging, you’ll know what products have been added to the cart’, to borrow an e-commerce phrase, and abandoned. Now, that’s something that can help you optimise your store and your products. You can start to ask the question: why is everyone taking this into the dressing room but not buying it?

Right now, most retailers don’t know exactly who is in their store or what their experience is like. But with computer vision, you’ll be able to see a customer’s facial expression. You’ll see if a product makes them smile or if the customer is happy or frustrated. You’ll know who is in your store and when. Suddenly, you can gather the same data offline, where 95% of sales still take place, as you do online (e.g., age, gender, preferences, and behaviours). Leverage this data in the right way, and its insights can revolutionise the way you make decisions for your store.
Take the Legend World Wide store in Belgrade as an example, which Deloitte helped build. The store’s computer vision lets its retailers know how many people are coming into the store, what gender they are, what their ages are, and what products they pick up. The data captured is anonymous, and no active participation is needed from the customers. But the information is extremely valuable to retailers—much more valuable than clicks on an iPad.
 

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Let the data do the work

The most valuable data points you can collect as a retailer fall into three sets: your customer, your product, and your employee. Depending on the industry, you’ll want to use these data points in different ways. For instance, if you’re a brand store, you might be most interested in what your customer is doing in your shop. Other retailers will be more concerned with traffic, like how many people come in and how long they stay. Others will want to know about employee performance.

Of course, certain data points, like traffic and dwell time, have been available to retailers for a long time. But we’ve noticed that many retailers don’t use this data to the best of their abilities. So, it’s not just collecting data that’s important but surfacing insights from your data and turning those insights into action.
 

Learn when less is more

We're here to help you collect the right data, data that empowers you to make educated decisions about your store design. Maybe that means there will be no technology in your store, like the Swedish premium retailer Acne Studios. Acne Studios opted for a personal approach instead of in-store technology. The adidas flagship store in New York also decided less was more with their new shoe bar. They used mostly old practices (e.g., customers are given actual swathes of leather when picking fabric) and blended them with touches of modern technology. With their shoe bar, adidas created a successful new business model. This idea provided a value proposition, not just a shiny veneer.

The takeaway here is this: each store has unique needs when it comes to in-store technology. Not all stores need to have flashy machinery that customers see. Our paper will help you navigate this exciting and fast-paced new world of connected store technology by providing the information you need to make smart decisions about how to collect data and make informed decisions about your stores.

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Take the first step and transform your store fleet

To learn more about how to capture the right data and revolutionise your stores, download our Point-of-View: Transforming store fleet through technology. This comprehensive guide will answer any question you have about connected stores and in-store technology.

More information?

For more information please contact Victor Hoong or Morris Boermann via the contact details below.

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