#FutureOfRetail starts now

Are you a retail decision-maker looking to make a splash? 

Let’s get one thing out of the way. You don’t need an AR mirror showing customers what they’d look like in the latest denim cut-offs while riding a unicorn with a tattoo habit. 

Now, this would be pretty awesome. It’s retail innovation, the subject of much industry buzz.

But will it replace an associate who can get customers one size up when they’re stuck in the change room wearing cut-offs that are just too tight?

As a data-analytics solution, we at Vision.gl love our tech. But we’re retail professionals first and foremost, and we’d never advocate replacing people or installing tech for tech’s sake. There is just no replacement for an exceptional in-person interaction and experience. 

Often the best way to discover and meet customer needs is having another person who can point them in the right direction, with advice when needed. 

Forbes has stated:  “The best retailers will see sales associates not as costs to be reduced, but assets to help move a brand from boring to remarkable and intensely relevant…”

Drawing on the work of the great Bob Phibbs, here are some person-to-person tips to help associates quickly connect with their visitors:

Just say Hello 

Within 15 seconds of their arrival, say what you would when greeting a home visitor. Not “can I help you?” You’re building a connection- it’s about welcoming them. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Just Looking”

Akin to “it’s not you, it’s me”, this retail rejection can freeze the blood like liquid nitrogen. Hold a prop- a book, a product- anything that looks like the customer has caught you mid-activity. It’s the quintessential “playing it cool” move and shows that you haven’t just been waiting for them since breakfast. Then, approach from a 45-degree angle. This helps you to greet and move past them more naturally, and stops them from feeling like they’ve just been caught in the confrontation between a deer and two headlights. 

Help Them Make Up Their Mind 

Customers have a purpose. They did not leave their Uber-Eats and Netflix havens just for a laugh. Educate yourself about your products and hold a conversation about it over dinner with your loved ones. Practice asking questions, so that when a real customer stands in front of you with their needs, you can quickly respond well to the needs that they’ve expressed- without having to resort to sales BS. Then you will be ready for the sales floor, my friend. 

It’s Personal

As with any garment worth wearing, there is no one-size-fits-all for customers.
Treating everyone as if they’re cut from the same cloth leads to ill-fitting interactions.
In the same way that I don’t settle for just one pun, please don’t settle for blanket approaches. We all know what a great, tailored fit does for us.
One way to personalize your approach is to notice something about the customer and respond to it with your own (sincere!) personal tidbit. Even if it’s just that you like their hair colour, and have been wanting to go blonde for a while now. 

That’s almost it for the tips. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you with my final thought before I go set up a shrine to the Retail Doctor.

Know The Status Quo

Empowering your associates to do their job with actionable tips is one thing, but managing them effectively is what holds it all together.

In an article featuring research from McKinsey Global Institute, Harvard Business Review reports that the digital leaders within the retail sector will be those who provide employees with digital tools to promote productivity and increase profit margins. 

HBR claims that store revenue can rise by as much as 20% when optimal staffing and training decisions are made, and access to in-store data provides the insights store managers need in order to prioritize coaching and make effective decisions.

So if you want real retail innovation, invest in your people first. Insights will get them connecting better so that you can confidently decide on which techtivations will provide a good return on investment. We’re hoping you’ll find it’s the Unicorn AR mirror. 

Visit Vision.gl for a demo of our services. 

The State of Lux. It Applies To You!

This fascinating Forbes piece says that luxury buyers are burnt out.
“There is a limit to how much luxury they need in their life,” says Cara David, managing partner at YouGov, “and they’ve pretty well reached it.” Around nearly 80% of those surveyed said they are making fewer, more meaningful purchases today.

Heck, I am not exactly a lady of the manor but I can relate. These luxury shoppers want purpose and quality over blah quantity. Personally, I want to connect with the creator, the designer, the inventor- if I know your name, I’ll buy quicker than you can say mine (Beatrice Prunella The Third.) Much research shows that I am not alone in this “trend.”

Think about an experience at a tailor. It used to seem that this personalized connection was set aside for those that could pay top dollar, while bargain bins were for plebs.

However, in a world where mass selling is generally the name of the game, the human touch stands out in perfect contrast and stands to be physical retail’s secret weapon.

Connections between customers and store associates always leave shoppers feeling something. So why not ensure that your staff is adequately taught how to leave your customers feeling pampered /refreshed/looked after/more informed or just understood?

In this way, assisted sales can appeal to an entire spectrum of shopper budgets ranging from orange juice to sparkling wine.

Take this study as an example. Hotels of both economy and luxury status were rated best in a combined category of contenders. The reason why? Because these visitors had positive interactions with multiple hotel associates.

While small stores may have the luxury of knowing exactly how store associates are performing (and yes, often the owner acts as the associate), bigger operations will find it harder to keep the focus.  All one needs is the right data to empower your sales associates, who can then make each interaction a conversation that converts.

A technological solution will enable the consistent, high quality of good human connections that keeps people coming back. To paraphrase Shep Hyken: AI won’t necessarily take over the human function… it will assist those who assist customers.

The Vision Analytics solution helps you focus on staff interactions with customers and their general activities. No one gets singled out, so it works to make everyone involved feel at ease. You will simply know when more training is needed for specific positions, if your onboarding processes are up to scratch, and if your staff is adequately supported in their work. In this way, your team will not feel spied on but will appreciate your investment in them.

Connect with us at https://vision.gl/.
You may just make someone’s day, while you improve your bottom line.

Vol. 3: Mission Accomplished

Just 4 more considerations until you know everything you need to when choosing an analytics provider. Then you’ll have these insights worth their weight in gold:

  • Better customer journeys, service and loyalty.
  • Facts to help you make the best decisions.
  • Understanding when and where to invest or reduce costs.
  • Knowledge on which marketing tactics actually work.

Your Final 4 in the 10-Question Compass*:

7. Is the analytics provider offering an inclusive technology?

The future of information is like Phumba passing a bug buffet. It needs feeding.  The ideal in-store analytics provider knows that technology keeps evolving- so it will act as a sort of information base to which you can add different technologies that complement the outcome.

Look for one that can be combined with your existing technology to supply better information.

Computer vision technologies, like ours, can work with existing Wifi or beacons and RFID tags, which measure product positions.

All of the captured data gets gathered and processed together in the Cloud for ease of use.

8. How do you want to access your data?

Each provider will have options for how to deliver your data. Some may do it with reports at an extra charge or provide you with a dashboard. Others may manage your account on your behalf, providing you with weekly summaries. Another method is to provide you with API’s or data exports that you can plug into your integrated retail solutions.

9. Do you understand your data?

Find out how the data is communicated. Is it easy to understand? Would you need extra help in order to take something useful from it? The most useful form of retail analytics is the delivery of actionable insights; helping you to take action immediately.

10. What is the potential provider’s key goal, and does it match yours?

Unfortunately, many sales representatives are not motivated by the long-term satisfaction of the trader. Are they as invested in your success as you are? Can they help you grow and improve important aspects of your business? Ask the provider to explain how their technology will help you in the long run and where they are headed with their product roadmap (future features and capabilities).

Congratulations! You’ve discovered your hidden treasure. We hope.

Vision specializes in in-store optimization. We are motivated to help you see the opportunities now and in the long-run. We hope we have helped form a clearer idea of what it takes for one such provider to really work for you.

Vision has centered all product development around the customer experience because we believe that it is crucial to success. We do so by providing readily actionable insights along the full customer journey, using the latest in analytics technology for premium accuracy. We are also 100% GDPR compliant.

And we’re easy to install, which is a plus because you won’t need to close the store. Go on, get your treasure! Get in touch with us at hello@vision.gl.

*This is the final post of the series. Catch up with Vol. 1 and Vol.2.

Vol. 2: The Adventure Continues

If you’ve forgotten where you’re headed, you need fresh supplies. Refresh at base camp, or read this quick recap of what you’re playing for.  

The Treasure

  • Understanding and bettering your customer engagements and therefore promoting customer loyalty.
  • Better scheduling decisions and better staff training to improve customer service.
  • Facts to help you make the best decisions. Cognitive bias affects the most judicious among us.
  • Understanding the best way to alter store operations to suit customer needs. This could mean being equipped to improve product placement, inventory selection, and store layouts.
  • Understanding when and where to invest or reduce costs.
  • Knowledge on which marketing tactics actually work.

Welcome (Back) To The Jungle

Picking your analytics is easier when you use this 10-Question compass as your guide. For 1-3, visit here

4. Does it distinguish between visitors? Why should it?

This is an important factor worth digging into because it is indicative of customer loyalty. Wifi previously enjoyed the benefit of identifying specific users every time they entered a zone, because each individual phone had its own prescribed ID code.

Advancements in phone security means that new MAC addresses are increasingly being generated among new phones whenever the device enters new wifi zones. Not distinguishing a return visitor can lead to counting them as two separate individuals.

Cameras at their most basic level cannot detect return visitors.

When developed with AI and computer vision technology, however, the system can now detect and profile individuals with high accuracy due to facial recognition technology.

Knowing who your repeat customers are is important because it helps you to measure and maintain customer loyalty.

5. Does it work within your environment?

Do you have metal fittings and furniture? Metal doesn’t pair well with bluetooth beacons or Wifi because metal, and other things really, can stop the signal. The thicker the room divider, the more likely the signal will be interrupted.

Similarly, Wifi and Bluetooth are not ideal for electronic stores where many other devices such as microwaves also operate on the same frequency of 2.4 GHz, therefore disturbing the Wifi frequency. The signal may bounce, splitting into different waves.

Computer Vision cannot be stopped in this way- the only accuracy challenge is light.This is manageable however- systems should use cameras with a Focal Ratio below 2. These find a balance between the light outside and light inside, making visuals accurate. Another potential drawback may be the customer’s reaction to seeing cameras in your store- especially if they are shopping with small children. It’s a privacy kind of thing.

A good camera or sensor installation would be discrete in its appearance, as well as having the ability to be cleverly installed in shop fittings/furniture. Regardless, it is necessary to inform customers that analytics are taking place in store- so this really shouldn’t be an issue. In some cases it may act as a theft deterrent, reducing store losses caused by shoplifting.

6. Is the solution GDPR compliant?

Both retailers/brands and analytics providers are held responsible (financially and legally) when there is a breach of the data protection laws. Equally as important though is that customer trust is on the line. More on these criteria can be found in a previous article.

The use of any of the technologies mentioned above needs to be communicated with high visibility in the space, but camera-led analytics are most at risk of transgressing privacy laws. However, the right solution will use its technology in such a way that all information is anonymized and legally compliant.

In an epic show of command, you’ve clawed your way out of a sinkhole, survived a gruesome what-was-that attack, and learned how to summon the more recognizable animals at your call. Just 4 more considerations to go.

To conclude your quest, Picking Your Analytics | Part 3 will be out next week. Or contact Vision.gl for more info.

Vol. 1: Embark on an Adventure Trilogy

The world is finding more and more ways to measure what happens in-store.

So many, in fact, that deciding on a solution can feel like hacking your way through one big jungle-icious mess. (This Medium article lists 7 technologies for people counting alone!)

Think of yourself as an intrepid explorer, looking good in a khaki robo-suit (cos, you know, tech.) With these 10 questions as your compass, you’ll soon find your ideal in-store analytics solution. And therein lies the hidden treasure…or simply the benefits below:

The Treasure

  • Understanding and bettering your customer engagements and therefore promoting customer loyalty.
  • Better scheduling decisions and better staff training to improve customer service.
  • Facts to help you make the best decisions. Cognitive bias affects the most judicious among us.
  • Understanding the best way to alter store operations to suit customer needs. This could mean being equipped to improve product placement, inventory selection, and store layouts.
  • Understanding when and where to invest or reduce costs.
  • Knowledge on which marketing tactics get more attention and/or lead to better conversion rates.

Welcome To The Jungle

Your journey with the 10-question compass begins now.

1. Does the solution consider the process before purchase?

Increasing sales means paying attention to what happens before checkout. P.O.S systems will only tell you that a sale has happened, not why more of them don’t. This brings us to the next question.

2. What metrics does it measure?

People counters measure footfall. Most in-store technologies offer the standard identification of gender and age, show most/least common paths taken, dwell times, queue tracking, while the more thorough solutions can actually help you analyze and improve on customer engagements, staff interactions with customers, and the number of assisted sales leading to actual sales.

3. Does it provide the accuracy needed within the size of your area?

The different technologies used by service providers suit different needs. Let’s compare Wifi, Bluetooth and Computer vision to illustrate this.

Wifi is ideal for someone looking to get an indicative number of visitors within a large area for an affordable price, like stadiums or larger event venues for festivals. This is because each transmitter can cover up to 300m, but the accuracy limit is 10m max. The key consideration of this technology, however, is that it requires 2 things to perform well – intense phone transmissions and the presence of switched on phones as well. Granted, many people carry their phones even to the bathroom, but the fact is that phone transmissions are being lowered to extend battery life. These low transmissions make an individual’s position seem further from the transmitters than they are. Therefore it’s not clear how reliable this method will be and for how long.

Bluetooth beacons, also known as BLE beacons (Bluetooth low energy), have an accuracy radius of 3 to 5 meters- making it more suitable for conferences with apps or big stores with loyalty programs in place. Bluetooth beacons can also be used to record other parts of the customer journey- such as by being placed on shopping carts and baskets or being used as part of staff identification where they can be removed from the visitor count.

There are a few drawbacks to using beacons. Firstly, Bluetooth needs to be enabled on the phone of the visitor, and the visitor’s phone must be switched on and in the store. The level of accuracy of the newest Bluetooth versions (e.g. 5.0 and 5.1) is purportedly good, but many phones are not yet operating on this version. Bluetooth is also essentially an insecure, open channel to your phone, so using beacons is dependant on consumer opt-in. Can you imagine if all your visitors opted out? You wouldn’t be capturing much data about them at all!

It is also important to note that both Bluetooth beacons and Wifi transmissions will extend their range beyond the boundary of your store space – meaning your valuable customer data will be skewed by the unrelated data recorded from outside your space.

Computer Vision, on the other hand, can be instructed to read the information within a certain area only. It, therefore, provides data with very high accuracy- however, they are a bit more pricey because each camera needs its own processor- this processes the imagery in situ so as not to transfer expensive video back to your cloud platform. The processor provides such superior capabilities as the detection of the human body, gender, and positioning at 4 frames per second. Therefore, it is a highly accurate system better suited to individual stores.

That’s 3 down and 7 to go. In the tech-jungle of decision making, you’ve already swung across an expansive gorge, battled a ferocious panther-bot and survived a torrential downpour. Bravo!

To continue your quest, Picking Your Analytics | Part 2 will be out next week. Or contact Vision.gl for more.

The Bell: The Good. The Bad. The Opportunity.

Think of Fyre Fest. We didn’t need an analytics solution to know that their poor customer experience made for a fat flop. Social media, the Netflix documentary, and a 6-year prison sentence did a good job of that.

But here’s a new experience concept that’s bound to be more successful in bringing the heat. It’s the work of Taco-Bell, who’ve perhaps cottoned onto the notion that young people will pay to play.

They call it “the tacoasis”.

We call it “the tost-ada-town”.

And in case neither of these rings a bell (sorry), allow us to introduce you to The Bell.

Taco Bell’s Palm Springs hotel takeover opens doors for a limited time in August, giving fans a burrito-breakaway from the mundanities of a life without them.

As a retail analytics provider, we help people to better their customer’s experiences. So we’ve taken a medium-to-deep dive (toes still touching the bottom) into the good, the bad, and the opportunity therein.

The Good (Or as we like to call it, the guac)

Taco Bell sees itself as a hospitality brand- so next level customer experience is a priority. In keeping with 2019’s retail trends, this clearly calls for full-on immersion, as described by Taco Bell’s head honcho’s. “It will be fun, colorful, flavorful and filled with more than what our fans might expect,” Taco Bell’s Chief Global Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in a statement. “Also, just like some of our most sought-after food innovation, this hotel brings something entirely new for lucky fans to experience and enjoy.”

Customers will enjoy services like bag collection by “Bell”-hops. They’ll glide across the pool on Fire Sauce and Sauce Packet floaties, sporting taco-painted nails and braids by The Bell hairstylists. Exclusive menu items will fuel the weekend of mariachi-mischievery, as well as the introduction of daily “happier hours” and plenty of other surprises.

The Bad (The calories)

Well, not much. The branding might seem a bit heavy handed though. As this article by TheTakeOut puts it: “paying to be immersed in ads—sounds like a straight-up dystopian nightmare.”

If you’ll allow us a moment of pedantry, the ever-present branding may confirm a certain naivety which is also detected in such press statements as: “making fans’ dreams come true with an immersive way to celebrate the best of the brand.” We say this because we’re just not sure how many customers lie awake at night thinking “how can I celebrate the best of Taco Bell’s brand?”

Retailers certainly don’t need logos everywhere to be heard, or for brand-love to be felt. That’s the power of the overall customer experience after all!

It really could be worse though. The Bell has a lot of fun puns to taco-bout. The brand also has a legacy of providing great experiences, like hosting weddings in the Las Vegas flagship Cantina and merchandising through Forever 21. This makes them consistent and iconic enough to pull this off.

We’re sure that they are looking at this through the eyes of opportunity. They must realize that the importance of this weekend really lies in listening to their customers, providing long-run value rather than an advert-immersion sprint.

The Opportunity (The sombrero on top)

While this hotel is designed to delight Taco Bell’s top fans, we see this as one big focus group. The insights will run thick and fast like hot sauce from dispensers- and should be handled by an expert analytics provider.

This first-party data opportunity makes it possible to understand more about their customer demographic and corresponding behavior than ever before. Captivating visitors with an extended stay is a smart way to observe different customer behaviors than what is revealed in the usual rush of Fast-Food.

For example, the regular treat times at the event mask the tell-tale flavor of market research. They’ll know which new flavors would appeal most to their customers on masse, and why. It’s a good business move when it comes to rolling out new meals because all cash spent on promotional assets (as well as all other costs) will be wisely spent.

This is just one kind of insight to be gained- another could be looking at the age groups in attendance to understand your most active demographic. Yet another could be the tracking of the specific elements which gather the most traction, which can inform Taco-Bell of their most ideal potential future partnerships.

These insights, when acted upon, would help take this event past a holiday in August and into the future- useful for a brand that values experiences so highly. One can see the brand love that rewards customer-experience centricity:

That’s why we at Vision retail analytics believe experience-proofing is the best way to move your business forward. We’re here to help retailers firstly see their opportunities, and then make the most of them.

Whether you’re starting out in the journey of better customer experience or already championing the cause, everybody has their next step to take. Today, ours is towards a taco- it is TacoTuesday after all.

Visit Vision.gl. Let’s chat about how your business can get the world talking.

Customer Experience? These Brands Are Killing It.

Jeff Bezos said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Research has said that customer experience will be the number 1 brand differentiator above product and price by 2020. It’s time to put on a razzle! While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there is one principle you can count on: Creativity and the customer experience go together.

We found 5 hosts-with-the-mosts who’re sparking customer conversations and solving big business problems along the way.

1. Fashion Retold

Images from Harrods & Victoria James Concierge FB pages

Fashion Re-Told, Harrods’ 2nd annual luxury pop-up shop, is taking place RIGHT NOW! Themed as an English summer garden, shoppers are invited to explore the floral fantasy nestled beyond an enchanting arch dripping with blooms. These were scented by Jo Malone London and the store was designed by Matej Havel.

It’s a unique take on a high-end retail experience, bringing to mind conceptual catwalks rather than retail racks. Visitors take their pick from curated donations of womenswear, menswear, childrenswear and accessories… supplied by designer brands such as Stella McCartney, Chloe and Calvin Klein.

The prices are good, but the cause is the best – all proceeds from Fashion Re-Told goes towards supporting the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)It’s a beautiful example of in-store experience being used for a bigger purpose.

Managing director of Harrods, Michael Ward said: “We want Fashion Re-Told customers to leave not only knowing that they have raised money for a hugely important cause but also having bought a luxury item and experienced a truly unique shopping experience.”

2. Virgin Holidays

Images from Pinterest

Ever wanted a holiday after your holiday? Oh, go on. With Virgin Holidays retail stores, your booking experience is now a tangible pre-breakaway. It’s honestly pretty cool because it gives buyers something to hold onto (with one hand. The other, if you’re in the Milton Keynes V-room, is too busy being manicured at the in-store spa.) Buyers remorse for who?

You can also ride a virtual reality rollercoaster, sip on free bubbly while your kiddies play in a dedicated area. Heck, we know some economy-bound-booties around here who would love to try out Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and Premium Economy seats.

Lee Haslett, vice president of sales and product at Virgin Holidays, put it in context: “We’ve been revolutionizing the way our customers book their holidays for several years and our latest V-room in Centre: MK is the next step on that journey. “

The experiences don’t stop there. Virgin Holiday stores are also the gateway to unique holiday packages that surprise and delight. For example, The Ultimate Virgin Holidays Star Wars™ Experience is an entirely- themed flight and itinerary package to celebrate the opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

3. The Crystal Ride Cabins

Images from Bloomberg & Matterhorn Paradise

On the topic of tourism, these crystal-encrusted cabins are another shining example of branded experiences.

This one’s a wildcard on an in-store retail list, but inspiration can be found outside the store too… and the writer may or may not want to brag that she’s experienced this herself.

Swarovski dream-teamed up with Ferrari designers Pininfarina to create this newsworthy, giddying glide over the crystalline glaciers. Views of the Matterhorn stretch out below, thanks to glass floors turning transparent at 560 feet. Everything from the external casing to the ceiling and seats displays some of over 1 million crystals.

Such crystals are available in the not-too-far, oh-so-luxurious Zermatt store. It’s a nice location that is hoped will attract some of the 1.5 million Chinese tourists visiting Switzerland each year, according to Econsultancy. Having opened at the end of 2018, we look forward to seeing the impact this has on sales as the year unfolds.

4. Nike Fit

3 in 5 of people are wearing the wrong shoe size. A fun fact for some, but not for Nike -it’s one that results in over 500,000 yearly customer service calls.

In a genius business move, they created a way for sales assistants to scan customer’s feet, in order to provide the perfect size. Not only did associates spend less time running back and forth to the stockroom, but testing also showed conversion rates increased for the people who used Nike Fit, meaning they were more likely to leave the store with a bag. They were also more likely to return and buy again, while returns at the testing stores declined. Learn more here.

Nike Fit is available wherever feet and phones may find themselves- so while it’s not only an in-store solution, it was purposed to drive traffic to Nike’s own shops, website and mobile app. As mentioned in Online.Vs.Offline, the renaissance of commerce is co-operation.

5. MOFAD

Hey, everyone eats. As if we needed any more reasons to love food, the Museum Of Food & Drink Lab gives it to us- delving deeper into one of life’s greatest unifiers. This Brooklyn innovation center holds various exhibitions designed to immerse visitors in the history behind today’s diverse American foodscape.

The space is engineered to romance every sense, engaging visitors with exhibits on touch, taste, smell, and sight and sound. Surprises and delights keep coming throughout the customer relationship, as exhibits are centered around new topics every few months.

MOFAD is geared to make a more conscious world. There are so many purpose-led reasons why one should visit, it’s actually ridiculous. But from a pop-culture perspective, it’s also really good for the ‘gram (as listed in Insider-Trend’s 40 of the World’s Most Instagrammable Stores) Go for it dear reader. Send us pics, give us FOMO.

These are only 5 of the best out there (in our humble opinion.) 

The common thread? Each one aims to bring a sense of wonder to customer’s lives, connecting them to something that makes them feel unique and special. In return, these brands are rewarded with our loyalty as customers.

Ask yourself what your customers really care about and what they respond to- retail analytics will really help identify these opportunities. Vision is the analytics provider that puts customer experience at the center of the insights we provide. We believe that knowing what happens in-store enables you to better understand how to surprise and delight your customers.

With our fuss-free, easy to install and simple to use solution, you’ll also get some of those good vibes while you’re at it. 

It’s The Big Shop Showdown.

In the left corner, weighing almost absolutely nothing in start-up-capital, iiit’s e-commerce! And in the right corner, weighing in at an enormously bulky tonnage, iiit’s BRICK-AND-MORTAAAR!

The fight is on everyone’s lips, and we’re weighing in: While these heavyweights may look at odds with each other, we say it’s important to remember that the customer journey has both digital and physical touchpoints for a reason.

Think about it. We browse online, then visit the store to see the objects in real life. That’s because we want to know if the shoes are comfortable, if that chair actually looks like a quality product, or if that color appears the way it did on-screen. When we’re in the store, we whip out our phones to compare the price with that other store we’ve thought about- just to make sure it’s worth it.

While the people at Vision are known to accept a conveniently delivered online purchase from time to time; we do believe that Brick-and-mortar has something quite magical up its leather glove. This is the fact that it’s uniquely poised to provide in-store, immersive customer experiences. These pack a powerful punch in the ring.

Vision provides in-store retailers with the same basic data as collected on e-commerce sites but then goes beyond, by analyzing the aspects of the customer experience in-store.

Crossing back to the fight:

Brick and Mortar throws a punch: Traffic count, shopper flow, user profiles, dwell times, bounce rates- they’re all possible.

E-commerce can see its met its match but fires off a quick double-jab of its own: Convenience. 24/7

OH! Brick and Mortar has dealt a decisive blow: Measurable Customer Experience Metrics.

Then, in a surprising turn of events, both hang up their gloves. They reconcile their differences and leave the ring to work together for a greater world of integrated commerce.

Retail has only a bright future ahead, as long as we have the entire customer experience at heart. The concept is articulated brilliantly in this CMS Wire article, where J. Estes says “Customer experience, or CX, is how companies engage people with not just a product but an emotional connection over the entire course of the relationship, with the goal of motivating and delighting people rather than frustrating and disappointing them.”

The stats also show that experience isn’t over when the money hits the till- 83% percent of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer service issues and 77% say the same about seeking advice (According to Accenture) Therefore these in-store, in-person experiences are crucial for building customer loyalty.

Have you considered what feedback on in-store interactions could mean for the experience your store provides? You can understand whether shoppers are delighted by your service, and why some interactions lead to customers walking away frustrated or disappointed. It would help you to decide on whether to improve store training, increase your number of staff on shift, or any other plan of action.

The right analytics partner should be helping you to champion that process so that your business can contend right up there with the heavyweights.

For that, visit Vision and pass the popcorn.

Analytics to Protect and Serve.

At Vision, we are passionate about soothing customer journey pain points – hey, we’re customers too. One very effective way to do that is to identify existing issues, by collecting and analyzing customer data.

Personal data can benefit shoppers, in that it helps retailers to provide that personal touch during shopping. But this vital data must be held in the right hands. We use data to put customers and their experiences first, even before profit, and that’s what sets us and our partners apart.

The Vision platform aims to give feedback on what is happening in stores so that retailers and/or brands can implement improvements based on what they learn. For example, if customers leave because queues are making for excessive wait-times, why are the lines that long? Is it because of unusually sizable crowds waiting for assistance, or is it actually because there is only one sales associate on duty? The right change based on minute details can have an incredible effect on overall customer satisfaction.

We find these insights using a non-intrusive approach that protects all customer privacy. This is important because both analytics providers and retailers/brands are held responsible (financially and legally) when there is a breach of the data protection laws. More information on the consequences can be found here, but it goes without saying that customer trust is on the line. And really, trust and loyalty is just the thing we want to build between us, our customers, and their customers.

Customer privacy should be respected-  and because of that, we are 100% GDPR and DPA compliant. When helping to craft the shopping experience with that personal touch in-store, we know we’re protecting people’s personal data.

Here are 6 key considerations when choosing a customer analytics provider:

  • How are customers informed of an analytics provider’s presence and operations?
  • Would they make personal data available on customer request?
  • Do they capture, process and store video footage or other personally identifiable information?
  • Do they comply with laws and erase data at customer request where applicable?
  • How do they keep all personal data secure?
  • Is data erased once it is no longer required for analysis purposes?

To understand more on the GDPR, browse the Information Commissioner’s Office Guide to the General Data Protection Regime here. For more info on the DPA, BDB Pitmans has a detailed article here.

 What does this mean for Vision customers?

Vision will always provide adequate in-store materials to inform customers of all operations. We also don’t record or store any video footage of customers, so we capture no likeness of them – and there is no risk of it finding its way online.

While privacy laws may seem complex, partnering with Vision makes it easy. Now, you’re freed up to provide the perfect personal touch – without the worry of transgressing trust boundaries. Contact us if you have more questions or concerns.

Just 364 Days ‘til Easter Sales!

The long weekend has come and gone. We’re seeing the back of the bunny, and sales figures that spiked as high as global blood sugar levels.

In the U.S alone, the overall spend was estimated to be $18.11 Billion – according to NRF’s Annual 2019 Easter Spending Survey.

Said to be the NRF’s 5th most profitable annual holiday, Easter is a chance for stores to really put a spring in their step. How did yours do?

Since fiscal quarters are as cyclical as “the chicken or the egg” conundrum, it’s not a bad idea to reflect on this year’s store performance and start hatching plans for 2020.

Let’s start with the facts. The NRF survey identifies a yearly spend-trend; those who’ll be digging into their wallets the most are under 35 years old. They mostly buy in the name of tradition and as a social event with friends. But! Store displays are among the highest motivating factors. This is great news because, unlike tradition or socializing, store displays are definitely something within your power to improve!

So make sure your display game is strong for next Easter.

Visual merchandising has a massive impact on customer experience, wielding the power to turn a stranger into a visitor, or influencing their emotions in-store. In an age where customers expect to have their expectations exceeded on any normal Tuesday, imagine the experiences stores need to craft during this festive weekend packed with competing sounds, tastes, sights, smells, and feels!

It’s time to get in on the festivities. Use your storefront displays to invite your shoppers inside, and then wrap them in a sunny Easter welcome. Here are the most important things to consider when bringing your brand’s Easter story to life.

Colour

Color can make or break a product in retail, according to Pantone Color Institute Vice President Laurie Pressman. Explore the universal language of color, and choose the ones that create the desired emotional connections. We’re thinking ‘freshness, celebration, and playfulness’. But hey, it’s your Easter story, so we’ll butt out.

Lighting

Physiologically speaking, you can’t see without it. But usefully speaking, lighting hugely affects the human psyche. Lighting designers have formed careers out of telling stories through the craft of illumination – why not get creative with products like spotlights, LED flat panels or backlit graphics.

Focal Point

Ah, the age-old compositional trick of drawing the eye to a singular point of interest. Really comes in handy when you want to show a product off, am I right? Fun fact stat: Making your product a focal hotspot can apparently increase your sales by 229%!

Abundance

This is a time to be the land of plenty- albeit with obstruction-free aisles promoting ease of movement and access to products. Keep your displays clean, and choose the ones that allow your merchandise the most face time – such as circular display units when inside the store.

Analyze and Track

Importantly, a good retail-analytics tool will provide feedback on your current store displays. Do you already dazzle the top spenders, or does something need to change when the time comes to attract the under 35-year-olds?

These conclusions will come when you observe who is noticing you, who stops to look and for what duration, as well as who enters the store as a result of your displays. These are just some of the things we can tell you as Vision.

Starting immediately, Vision can help you evaluate and tweak current marketing campaigns and store layouts in the lead up to big sale days. For example, knowing which exact store areas are hotspots will help you position products at the ideal focal points.

While the examples above illustrate how in-store intelligence can improve your sales over the Easter weekend, there is a real benefit in the always-on retail analysis. Vision is uniquely available on an ongoing subscription basis, so it’s perfect as a permanent business tool or for use in leading up to the main event.

Visit us at Vision.gl to learn more. Your learnings will quickly free you up to experiment and push business boundaries like never before- for next Easter, Christmas or even next Tuesday.