Retailing Experience Excellence Using Traffic Data

by Brian Field on 04-30-18

Analysts are correct to reject the alarmist headlines about the death of physical retail, but they are also right to emphasize it should be the end for boring, unexciting retailing experiences.

As the industry navigates its way through a new era of consumer behavior that entails shopping journeys across multiple channels, the store becomes the fulcrum point of shopping entertainment. It is a place where compelling experiences need to be provided, consumer problems solved, and where, ultimately, most sales are converted.

For this model to cement itself across the wider industry, it will rely on retailers attaching greater value to their store associates, using them wisely and ensuring they are empowered to do what they do best: selling products and servicing the shopper.

Harnessing traffic data within the retail organization facilitates this strategy, and here’s a few reasons why:

The right ratio

Using traffic data to plan staffing means retailers can find the most suitable ratio of associates to customers. This is your shopper-to-associate-ratio (STAR). Having the optimum number of employees on the shop floor ensures customers get what they need to make their purchase, which is especially important as the modern retail store increasingly doubles up as a hub for consumer consultancy.

Recent research by SalesForce shows that 75% of consumers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is available when needed during a shopping trip, while another study from InMoment finds that a positive experience with a retailer’s staff increases customers’ satisfaction by 33%. Statistics like these confirm that finding the adequate STAR is crucial for creating compelling customer experiences.

True value

Deploying store associates based on real traffic information adds even more value to this already important role.

With a traffic-led approach to labor optimization, all parties within the retail organization – senior management, store bosses or the shop floor staff – can measure performance based on the exact sales opportunity presented. It allows retailers to establish KPIs that are not devised using historical sales data or vague estimates of how many shoppers will be in a store, and this transparency can get the best out of staff.

We all know that a happy and engaged shop floor worker is more than likely to provide better-quality and loyalty-strengthening customer interactions, so retailers need to do all they can to use their greatest assets wisely.

Meeting expectations

It’s important to create staff schedules and goals based on real traffic information because this approach will help you meet customer expectations. That’s what all successful retail strategies center on today – putting the customer at the heart of the business’s plans and making key decisions around what’s best for them.

Retailers looking at changing the way they deploy their shop staff for this new era of experience-led stores should read ShopperTrak’s latest retail intelligence report on labor optimization. It provides a straightforward guide on how aligning labor to traffic data can increase productivity and profit, and ensure customer service is as compelling as it needs to be today.

The analysts are right: no-one wants boring store retail experiences. Consumers will seek out more exciting options instead when there are so many other options both digitally and physically. It’s up to retailers to harness the right data – traffic data – to ensure store staff can offer the excellence shoppers are searching for.

Download the report to see how leveraging customer traffic data leads to shop floor customer service excellence

Read more posts by Brian Field

Brian Field is the Senior Director of Retail Consulting Practice for ShopperTrak, where he oversees the application of ShopperTrak's proprietary solutions to retailer-specific issues across different functional areas in order to drive top and bottom line store performance. Prior to joining ShopperTrak, Brian served in roles of increasing responsibility at Chico’s FAS Inc., including as the director of corporate store operations and finance. Brian has spent nearly four decades in the industry, and his experience includes: store sales and management, training, merchandising, strategic planning and analysis for brands as diverse as David’s Bridal, Circuit City and Macy's.