It’s no question that brick-and-mortar stores are in trouble. JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears are closing hundreds of stores this year, while other retailers such as Kate Spade and Neiman Marcus are considering mergers and acquisitions to stay afloat.
The main competition for these brick-and-mortar stores are online retailers. Amazon is their main rival, offering anything you can find in stores at a reduced cost—and not to mention Amazon Prime.
That being said, brick-and-mortar stores still bring in the greatest percentage of transactions because customers like having a hands-on and face-to-face experience. Other factors such as personal interaction, instant gratification, and salespeople make brick-and-mortar shopping still relevant.
Advantages of online retail: analytics
The main advantage online retailers have over brick-and-mortar is that they use analytics. Analytics can collect data from and about shoppers, mining it for demographics and shopping habit insights. This data creates data-rich customer profiles, which helps reach customers with personalized messages and promotional offers.
If more brick-and-mortar retailers adopted the use of in-store analytics, they would have similar opportunities to learn about their customers and provide a greatly improved shopping experience. Analytics and the data gathered by them will help traditional stores compete with the growing domination of online-only retailers.
How brick-and-mortar can adopt analytics
Wi-Fi is an easy technology to implement to improve customer experience. Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, with more and more public places offering guest networks to connect to. Wi-Fi allows brick-and-mortar retailers to build an improved in-store shopping experience by applying analytics to personalize customer engagement.
Having customers connect to a guest Wi-Fi network is also beneficial for retailers to capture data, develop shopper profiles, offer personalized promotions, and build loyalty by giving shoppers exactly what they want.
It’s a win-win for both customers and retailers; customers are willing to give their personal information and shopping habits if they get something for it in return, such as a promotion.
Analytics can also create omni-channel customer engagement. If a shopper provides their email in-store at check out and uses the same email when they shop on the store’s website, that activity can be added to their customer profile.
Using this method, if a shopper abandons an item in their online cart, the retailer can close the sale by sending an offer to the shopper’s phone to use in-store the next time they come in.
Brick-and-mortar need to move with the times
Brick-and-mortar retailers are quick to blame the internet for their problems instead of using it to their advantage. Brick-and-mortar retailers already have an advantage over online retailers because of the in-store experience they offer.
To stay relevant, brick-and-mortar retailers need to use analytics as an updated approach to customer engagement. By doing this, brick-and-mortar retailers can come out ahead over exclusively online retailers.
For more information about how you can use analytics for your business, check out our Spotfire analytics offering.