Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retail Transparency- What does it mean for you?

Here’s an interesting read  that speaks to retailers getting ready for new technologies that  will bring new store transparency.  The author, having recently attended NRF Big Show, says that now that stores have the technologies available that will give the same opportunities to reach shoppers and influence their behavior as in digital channels, stores will need to make the necessary changes in order to take advantage of the insights this new retail transparency brings.   
Some of the technologies in the article talks about Bluetooth tracking, Wi-Fi-based tracking, heat maps, interactive digital signs, targeted ads deployed within the store, point of sale at the shelf, and various combinations of these are all available in turning the store black box into as formidable of a competitor as the e-Commerce site.  These new tools will let stores know much more about the operations of the store than ever before but all the new data and analytics will not mean much if retailers do not take action based on them. 

“In this era of transparency, it's not enough to solicit feedback from shoppers - passionate or otherwise. Just like people get frustrated with negative product reviews that don't result in any correction of product flaws, they will get frustrated with getting asked for advice about "their" store and then having that advice ignored. Not all advice has to be taken, but if it's not taken, there should be some acknowledgement and a brief explanation of why that particular idea is difficult or not the highest priority.”
Here are three recommendations from the article:
  1. 1.       Measure store managers on sales conversion rates based on minutes spent per customer, not on sales per hour and labor as a percent of sales.
  2. 2.       Connect store managers and employees to each other.
  3. 3.       Look at how the store can market itself.

The first two may seem less relevant within the college store industry today, but the third hits home.  College stores must increase their capability and sophistication at "telling their story" both on and off campus.  Stores must market themselves in new ways focusing on value and outcomes wherever possible.

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