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Guest Blog: Get an edge in retail with guest access and analytics

Taqi Mohiuddin | Jan. 8, 2013
Retailers can offer shoppers on-premise digital experiences through access to their in-store networks, driven by a powerful analytics engine that captures data from shopper activity.

Using Analytics for Targeted Promotions
Guest access analytics enables retailers to change a familiar scenario. Consumers wandering the floor consult their mobile devices for information on merchandise. Often, they will ultimately comparison shop and buy an item online at a lower price. Guest access analytics allows store management to change that outcome. By offering the store's WiFi network for connectivity, the analytics engine can go to work on the data stream. Analytics engines can provide data on:

•    Search terms used;
•    Sites visited;
•    Devices used; and
•    Time spent online and frequency of browsing.

At the base level, analytics can be a tactical tool. At an opportune moment, a coupon for a specific item can be pushed to the consumer's device. This potentially creates a win-win proposition in which the retailer closes sales that might have gone to an e-commerce competitor and the consumer receives the advantage of taking a desired item home right away and avoiding shipping costs. Store management can also gain valuable real-time insight into customer preferences in a given location. Perhaps clothing items are not stocked in the colours or in the brands frequently searched for by consumers. Managers might never gain that fine-tuned insight through direct interaction with consumers.

Beyond this immediate creation of sales opportunities, guest access analytics opens up more strategic business opportunities. By aggregating data from across a region or an entire chain, management can spy larger trends driving the business or more easily see the effectiveness of promotions and, of course, gain competitive intelligence.

To whom are consumers turning for certain items? Perhaps a competitor has arisen that is not yet on the radar screen. Maybe a new brand is gaining momentum in a hot category, and management has an opportunity to lay in inventory before pricing soars. This analytical insight can also guide a technology-driven customer engagement strategy through avenues such as app development. Analytics can also be geared to gauge the effectiveness of marketing efforts, whether online tools or traditional advertising. Guest access analytics offer a way to check on those investments and others to make sure they pay off with increased traffic, awareness and sales.

More advanced analytics implementations can also incorporate location services to hail loyal customers when they are in the storefront's vicinity. Analytics are key to furthering new forms of customer engagement.

Multichannel shoppers are the new normal, and brick-and-mortar retailers can welcome them rather than worrying that others are benefiting from their investment in physical space and inventory. Once this infrastructure is in place, retailers can meld their online and in-store environments while building a new extended relationship with loyal customers. Guest access and analytics levels the playing field by enhancing the inherent advantages of providing a physical storefront for shoppers.

Taqi Mohiuddin is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.


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