Physical stores are competing with online retailers to reduce the data gap and detailed customer information online stores have been taking advantage of. Department stores including Target and Macy’s have been using tracking software in order to watch shoppers and analyzing sales dynamics from daily in-store video recordings and optimize personalized promotions according to their previous purchases. We asked our Zintro experts whether in-store tracking technologies will help traditional stores collect enough customer data to be able to compete with online retailers without invading their privacy.
According to Jerry Birnbach, an expert in retail design solutions, online stores and brick and mortar retailers both are capable of capturing customer information proactively rather than having an invading approach. “With the advent of mobile devices and increased online retailers, the brick and mortar stores are trying to cut their customers off at the pass. RDD Associates Inc has been on the leading edge of ground breaking retail concepts for store and display design. Major design awards in both categories and participant of Store of the Future areas at the industries Global Shop show have kept on looking for the next great item for retailers. Not since the barcode, has any piece of technology turned the retail industry upside down as the mobile applications and mobile device access to the Internet,” he explains. “It is very simple, want to get into your customers head, just ping them and their habits, likes, demographics, purchases, and what they want to buy. The idea that the brick and mortar retailers versus online retailers go about collecting data from different directions and alternate methods of gathering information is off base.” As Birnbach also indicates, the older population is more unlikely to provide information. “The younger generations are giving up minute-to-minute information on themselves via tweeter and Facebook. Although seniors are a big segment of the purchasing power, they are going to shop as they have for many years and nothing is going to change their hands-on approach to shopping. Every person surveyed agrees that service is the single biggest element lacking in stores. Online does not provide service to the potential that retailers can, so set your aps to knowing what your customers wants, needs and requires to make the purchase at store level,” he adds. “Online retailers on the other hand serve a different customer that wants price, quality and have it yesterday so they need to capture in a proactive way what their customers want. There is no question that retailing is evolving at a rapid speed and all parties involved need to be aware that even elephants like Kodak, Montgomery Wards, or A&P were guilty of not looking behind them to see what others were doing, nor thought that progress was essential to their survival.”
By Idil Kan
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