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Analysing Customer Behaviour for Retail Success

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It is a widely known fact that the key to business success relies on a happy and satisfied end-user. For the retail sector, customers are key to business outcomes. A way to ensure retailers are meeting the needs of shoppers is by understanding them and their behaviour.

One way to be on the front foot is through in-store data analytics. Not only do data and analytics provide insight into the customers entering a store, smarter and more informed business decisions can also be made.

Analysing customer behaviour

In order to stand out from the crowd and attract customers, retailers must know and understand customer behaviour – determined by acknowledging and understanding: who the customers are, why do they visit a store, what do they purchase, where are they visiting from, what made them enter the store and how do they go about making a purchase.

In-store analytics can help retailers collect information to find out the answers to these key questions. Once store owners gather data and insights, they can leverage the information available to evolve in-store and business-wide strategies to better satisfy and attract customers.

Developing a better understanding of customer behaviour

One way retailers can gain a better understanding of the diverse types of customers visiting a store is by utilising technology and pre-existing infrastructures. BLE beacon networks, door-to-people counters, video sources, web and social platforms, for example, allow retailers to not only the analyse behaviour of anonymous shoppers, but also gain deeper insights about the audience and shopping behaviours of those who opt-in to free internet connectivity.

As consumers connect to guest Wi-Fi in store, retailers are able to gain insight into invaluable data, such as the age, gender, postcode, likes and dislikes of consumers. Similarly, social media analytics and online activity can also be gathered to provide retailers, with a correlation between in store visitation to social sentiment, offering retailers with powerful insight into the success businesses have in creating awareness, appeal and value to consumers.

Equally as important as the data that is gathered, is the way it is presented. Having a dashboard that is comprehensive and represents information in an intuitive way will help retailers identify any trends in the market, and keep a pulse on the industry. This way, they are able to proactively and positively react to customer habits and gain a competitive advantage.

Improving the customer experience

Once store owners have a technology solution in place that can capture and present data in a way that is easy to digest, the insights presented can help retailers implement a bespoke shopping experience, reflective of their customer behaviour. Not only will retailers be more in tune with their shoppers and their behaviour, major pain points associated with shopping in store can be improved. Extended wait times, long queues, differing prices or out of stock items can be a source of frustration that can lead consumers out of store and result in a loss of sale.

Now that retailers understand the shoppers entering their stores, they can create smarter, more intuitive and more forward thinking shopping spaces. Through in store data analytics, patterns can be identified when traffic data is gathered so retailers are able to optimise the layout of a store. Retailers can experiment with different displays, signs and campaigns and identify which strategies are the most effective in attracting potential customers.

This not only helps with their bottom line and business management, but it provides consumers with efficient, enjoyable and personal experiences.

Retailers can further extend their tailored offering, by delivering data driven campaigns based on customer behaviour through targeted promotional activity. Utilising a range of channels and media formats including email, SMS, mobile notifications, video interstitials, OOH and Wi-Fi, store owners can send customers relevant promotions based on real-time data of their shopping habits and dwell time.

Retailers of any size can benefit from in store data analytics. A shopping centre for example, has utilised data insights to identify what sections of the precinct receives the most foot traffic. After identifying that the food court was the most visited area, and had the largest number of dwell time, with most consumers entering the centre just to visit that particular zone, the centre decided to move the food court to a different location, so that retail stores could benefit from the number of consumers entering.

Similarly, on a smaller scale, if a fashion store within a shopping centre explores the gathered consumer data and identifies its store receives a large volume of consumers that form a demographic slightly older than their target market, they can look to adapt their product range to accommodate a wider range of tastes and preferences, and/or update their marketing and promotional strategy to realign and meet their intended audience.

Once retailers piece together a genuine understanding of their customers using in store analytics, and have a comprehensive understanding of those that are visiting their store, retailers will ultimately attract and retain customers as the in-store experience is specifically customised for them. By doing so, retailers will be able to predict, prepare and provide outstanding service to consumers, benefitting the bottom line and brand reputation.

With Skyfii’s integrated IO platform (IO Connect, IO Insight & IO Engage) you can learn more about your venue’s performance and your customers.

Creating Smart Spaces for Bricks and Mortar Retail

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The bricks and mortar retail world has been up against ecommerce for a couple of decades now, somehow never quite moving into the future the way it needs to, in order to bridge the gap. So why doesn’t everyone just shop online? The real benefit of in-store retail for consumers is the ability to experience the products. To use senses beyond sight: the touch and feel of an item, the interaction with staff and real people. We all enjoy this experience, which is why online shopping hasn’t made retail spaces obsolete – for the new generation their is a resurgence. There are some drawbacks, however: wait times, long queues, unpleasant experiences, differing prices or out of stock items can be a source of frustration that can lead consumers back online.

Thus, today’s smart stores and spaces are a really important step forward for consumers in terms of service levels and satisfaction and for the retailer’s, customer loyalty. When you go online, your likes, dislikes and a plethora of other information about you is used to determine what you see and what experience you have. To learn more about our thoughts on Smart Spaces and IoT you can visit an earlier blog of ours. 

Using similar data to understand consumers and make their interactions and experiences more convenient and meaningful is surely a very positive thing indeed. Not just in retail of course, but all physical spaces. Restaurants, museums, services within each city; in today’s world of IoT (read our IoT article here) cities all over the world are becoming smarter, more intuitive and more forward thinking. This not only helps with their bottom line and business management, but it provides consumers, visitors – us, the people! – with efficient, enjoyable experiences.

The bricks and mortar retail industry can’t afford to remain passive; ignoring the needs of its cross-channel shoppers – there are too many alternatives for shoppers to turn to. Consumer expectations have been set and the technologies are readily available, today. Smart spaces are a natural progression in bridging the gap between the online and offline world and taking retail into the future.

This is why with the IO platform (IO Connect, IO Insight and IO Engage) retailers and venues can take a proactive step forward in understanding their consumers. The creation of these connected spaces enable an in-depth understanding of those who occupy them, and how to deliver better products and services as result. Boosting loyalty, conversion and more importantly creating a shopping experience personalised to them, an unaddressed and defining need for the next generation of shoppers.

Is retail personalisation the answer to Amazon Go?

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amazon go and the retail shake up

They’ve made tidal waves in the retail world raising red flags for an industry wondering, what’s next? But Amazon Go isn’t shying away from their plans of a global expansion, with the recent announcement for the launch of services in Australian and New Zealand. For a retail industry with a conservative attitude this must generate concern – being a changing market whose suppliers are stagnant when responding to global technology trends. So what does the market do to respond, replicate?

Well the answer doesn’t necessarily lie in competing at consumer automation. There are opportunities already in the market that can be harnessed. One such unaddressed opportunity is consumer personalisation.

The concept of retail personlisation was researched by TimeTrade and presented in their ‘The State of Retail Report’.  During studies they conducted focus groups centralised around consumer spending habits – identifying that respondents were *4.7% more likely to increase spending if presented with more personalised shopping experiences. From an industry standpoint this equates to a $150 billion revenue increase; achievable through big data.

Big data is becoming a commodity in the current consumer landscape and revolutionising the way industries collect, interpret and use data. Where once thought to be overly complicated and without sufficient purpose, these troves of information are now being harnessed to create outputs benefitting all aspects of business, from operations through to marketing.

At a consumer level, this information can create shopping experiences that are highly engaging and relevant. What can we take away from the wonders of Amazon Go and automation? Well, there is a clearly unaddressed need for consumer personalisation; for retailers to make sense of the data in front of them and create shopping experiences beyond what is confined to a retailer’s normality.

At Skyfii we liken this ability to what is becoming a ‘Smart Store’, where consumers’ smart mobile devices provide the insight and big data that’s being harnessed to create proven return for retailers – centred around personalisation.

So aside from big data, what does personalisation look like?

Imagine the ability to deliver segmented marketing campaigns based on the shopping habits of individual consumers; in the store at the most crucial moment in a consumer’s shopper journey – direct to their mobile phone. Better yet, the campaign is backed by real-time data of their shopping habits; dwell time, conversion, zone affinity and loyalty rates.

Data from Wi-Fi, POS, Foot Counters and other sources is making this possible and it can all be ingested and measured accurately in one platform, providing companies with a true ROI. Creating learnings, improving conversion and importantly, revenue – this is what can be achieved with big data.

In order to compete against Amazon Go, bricks and mortar retailers need to embrace innovation and look to ways that big data can help revolutionise their service offering. History has shown that a lack of innovation is a catalyst for failure.

social marketing

Are your social marketing campaigns working hard enough?

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social marketing

You’re getting dozens, if not hundreds of likes for your social marketing efforts, people are digging what you’re putting down. Share, share, love, laugh. It’s all good feedback. But what does that actually mean to visitation of your venue? The ROI for online campaigns is easy to measure when the product or service is also online – click throughs and dollar attribution say it all – but when your business is of the physical variety, how can you tell if all that social engagement is really paying off? The fact is, attributing offline sales to online campaigns is a challenge for even the most tech-savvy businesses.

We can all go through the basics… SMART KPIs will help you measure social marketing campaign effectiveness. You remember SMART? Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timely? Of course you do. But these alone are not enough when attributing online to offline.

Another angle is tracking SOCIAL SENTIMENT. One of the easiest ways to understand if your social marketing campaigns are successful. The good old hashtag is used via all social platforms so it’s easy to track how people are reacting about your campaign. The next question, however, is whether or not your campaign is hustling consumers off their couches and into your venues?

The golden ticket, of course, is SALES.  Perhaps the most obvious way, but also the most tricky. How can you be sure that someone has been buying your product because of seeing your campaign on Facebook? Until recently, you couldn’t. Not accurately anyway. Now, as data analytics for physical spaces becomes a reality, the attribution does too.

But sales isn’t always the only objective of a campaign. Ultimately, you want to know if your social marketing campaigns are driving people to your venue or space. FOOTFALL & VISITATION plays a big role in understanding this correlation and is something you can now measure so long as you have accurate data analytics for your venue. Do visits spike when your campaigns are live? Are some messages more impactful than others? By measuring and monitoring this, you’ll be able to build a robust social strategy that you know works and report results in a tangible way.

The Skyfii IO social dashboard makes this process easy and efficient; providing an easy-to-ingest dashboard with everything you need, right where you need it. Track the social sentiment of each campaign and benchmark against previous results to see where your campaigns have had real-world impact.

Find out more about the Skyfii’s Social Dashboard .

facebook follower value

What’s a Social Media Like Really Worth?

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The correlation between social sentiment and customer loyalty to venue. 

Social media has a known ability to build relationships through engagement that can lead to sales and advocates. A study by Syncapse has shown •85% of consumers make brand decisions based upon social media influences. But what does that mean for your venue or space and what is that social sentiment really worth?

Research by DDB Worldwide found that *84% of a typical brand’s Facebook followers are existing customers, highlighting its potential as a great retention and relationship building tool. Moreover, studies suggest that followers spend more on the brands they follow socially. This over-index in spend is not merely an artifact of income, but rather an indication of how effective these media platforms can be.

DDB Worldwide’s Research also found that Facebook followers:

Are 11% more likely to continue using the brands than non-followers users.

Are 18% more satisfied with their brands then non-followers users.

Will spend 43% more in respective categories versus non-followers.

facebook likes attribution to brand

In addition, brand followers spend almost double the amount that non-followers do on the brands they like. Specifically, the average Facebook follower spends *$255 compared with the non-follower who spends *$139. In addition, over *90% of your followers are likely to continue buying from you. These insights support a relationship between sentiment and loyalty, but what does that loyalty mean in terms of generating footfall and spend offline?

There is a near consensus that social media marketing is valuable, but justifying the value of social has been a conundrum for brand marketers for some time. How much do you attribute to the relationship with the brand versus the last click? What makes measuring social ROI so difficult is not a lack of data, but identifying which pieces of data matter. Skyfii’s Social Dashboard enables clients to harness the analytics used day-to-day when measuring on-line successes and apply those analytics to a physical space. Providing a real way to measure ROI and conversion of social sentiment from online to offline.

social media marketing ROI

Online to Check Out Line

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The effects of online promotions and branding on venue visitation – linking online trends and physical spaces.

For retailers, shopping centres and numerous stores who provide products or services from a physical location – the correlation between venue visitation and revenue is closely intertwined. This powerful metric offers insight into the success businesses have in creating awareness, appeal and value to consumers, and thus in creating traffic. With the consumption of media moving steadily away from traditional advertising, this task of generating in-store visitation has moved online. 

* 87% of shoppers perform online research prior to visiting a store, 71% during and 35% after

* 39% of consumers use social networking sites for information on products and services

*50% of millennials trust user generated content and reviews over traditional advertising

Not surprisingly, *89% of retailers identified they had a social commerce strategy in place or planned to in the near future. For many retailers social media offers an effective method of capitalising on earned media to create campaigns, with enormous reach and engagement potentials. Combined with other above the line methods these integrated campaigns play a dominating role in creating traffic to venue, with a majority of retailers believing that social campaigns contribute to *5-20% of all sales.  

So, how can you truly measure the success your campaigns have on visitation and their resulting impact on revenues and profitability?

The connection is not always clear, that being the effect your social campaigns have on venue visitation and revenue. Understandably Social Networking analytics can provide you with insights into the effects your social advertising is having online, however this connection to venue has never been well defined. Fortunately, Skyfii’s Social Dashboard combines the advantages of both platforms, merging social analytics with accurate visitation numbers, creating a clear path between the sentiment you have online and the effect it has to your store. With this ability you can define best practice for social campaigns, accounting for the overall effect of online promotions and branding with venue visitation.

Picture of Wayne Arthur, CEO

The Internet of Me

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So, what does IoT mean for retail?

The term IoT was coined as a reference to the interworking of physical devices – embedded within electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity, enabling these objects to collect and exchange data. In a retail environment these devices present themselves as foot counters, POS systems, CCTV cameras, bluetooth beacons, Wi-Fi, mobile applications, CRM systems and barcode scanners. Collectively they represent a trove of data known as IoT, capable of supporting functionalities from supply chain management, operations and marketing support.

Retailers are making big changes with IoT

IoT has highlighted the availability of data points to retailers, and more importantly the ability they have in creating enriched insights about their consumers. This ability is even more evident in the Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow report developed by Aruba, showing how far progressed the capabilities are for retailers to ingest data, and create tools from such a large array of data points. As stated in the report these changes are making big impacts in the retail sector with 88% of adopters indicating it had improved the overall customer experience. Seeing first hand the impact data integration and analytics has on retailers we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

Consumers are beginning to see the benefits of IoT

IoT has generated new benefits to consumers, largely supported by the new insights available to retailers. More appropriately this has manifested itself into the Internet of Me (IoM); a holistic viewpoint and ability to provide personalised offerings to the consumer. As result, responsive services have been created, with more information coming from more sources, services can now learn, anticipate and respond to individual needs. The feedback loop is shorter with companies able to quickly adapt to consumer experiences, identifying faults in products and services quicker. However, more importantly for the retailer is the new age ability to create in-store experiences and offerings tailored to the individual, as result of extensive learning and outputs created through analytics, defining a new age of ‘smart retailers’.

Governments are seeing the savings

Aruba’s report discusses the impact IoT is having in the ‘Smart Cities” space, more notably the reported savings from 70% of governments who adopted an IoT initiative. It’s fantastic that so many industries are seeing the benefits including government. Skyfii has been involved in similar initiatives with local government in Australia, supporting them with data analysis. In these deployments we’ve been able to support them with understanding the precinct and transport utilisation of areas, design and development and retail performance in addition to a number of other analytic outputs. As result, we identify inefficiencies that go on to support the reported savings identified in Aruba’s report.

How do we help?

The number of data sources available to retailers are tremendous and can often come off as noise with no value. The secret of IoT is not the variety of data, but what you can do with it. For many defining the solution that fits best is a challenging task, requiring testing and extensive learning. For this reason Skyfii finds ourselves so regularly contacted to support with analytics, and that of understanding that can be created from IoT. Our solutions offer numerous verticals very clear analytical insights; supporting operational, marketing, sales and executive teams in unlocking the value of data and how it is relevant to them.

Two people conversing while looking at a phone

The Why in Guest WiFi

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On average shopping centre visitors will spend 25% longer in-venue when using a guest WiFi service

Guest WiFi  is becoming a necessity amongst consumers, with the availability of services impacting decisions so heavily, that 66% percent of travelers said they would change hotels for a better Wi-Fi experience. These services support not only local tourist economies but are becoming a quick need for the globalised workforce who need to be online and connected. However the benefits of providing public Wi-Fi extend beyond the service you provide to users. As a business, city, education facility, airport, shopping centre or retailer the benefits are tremendous, here are just a few.

Build a database of engaged customers

Registration portals offer an ability to capture user details as they log onto guest WiFi. With these details you can begin to grow a database of people who are engaged with your venue and your brand. Using Skyfii IO’s Progressive Profiling tool, you can schedule subsequent questions in the captive portal to capture additional data from users when they return to the network.

Longer time spent in venue

One of the greatest benefits of providing guest WiFi is the increased time spent in-venue. On average shopping centre visitors will spend 25% longer in-venue when using a guest WiFi service, in addition registered users will spend 28% longer in venue regardless of being connected to the internet. This increase in dwell contributes to a known increase in revenue, as consumers spending longer in venue increase their spend.  

Attract new customers

Public WiFi adds an incentive for visitors to enter in venue.  Businesses in the hospitality industry now use it as an incentive for individuals to visit their venue. According to a survey, 53% of people were more happy to sit alone in restaurants and cafes if Wi-Fi is available, with consumers reporting that the Wi-Fi access removed the stigma of sitting alone

Improved customer expectations

The increase in guest WiFi deployments have started a trend amongst consumers, whereby the provision of WiFi has become an expectation. Guest Wifi is provided in numerous settings including airports, education facilities, city centres, pubs, shopping centres and hotels. By meeting these expectations you improve your customer’s experience and their loyalty to your venue.

Consumer analytics

Offering free WiFi does not just benefit the consumer, in fact it is becoming an invaluable asset amongst those who provide it. In conjunction with other data sources WiFi is being used as a means to construct a clear picture on the profile and behaviour of its users. With the added ability of WiFi location tracking functionalities, you’re able to see the physical interaction your users have with your facility.  

Devices showing Skyfii ebook cover page | smart cities

Smart Cities – How free Wi-Fi supports local government

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Creating a data driven smart cities project that addresses the communities needs.

Sometimes these decisions are small, and sometimes they are big, but regardless of size, every decision made will impact local constituents and visitors in one way or another. Decision-making is a significant responsibility so it’s important that those in positions of leadership, use all the tools they can to ensure that the decisions they make reflect the needs and interests of their community.

Data gathering is an important part of the decision making process, especially when it comes to those big decisions like allocating resources or planning community events. Unfortunately many of the conventional data gathering techniques are time consuming and expensive, and they don’t always give you accurate information.


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The rise of data and analytics in the global economy

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Customer data has an integral role to play in the retail sector, but many shopping centre owners and retailers are only just beginning to understand the potential impact it can have on their businesses.

To date, debates around the evolution of the retail sector have very much focused on the competition between traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers versus online stores. Unfortunately, these discussions are typically over-simplified and fail to recognise the evolution of physical venues behind the scenes. The digital changes occurring in this space are overlooked due to the convenience promised by online shopping.

At surface level, the shopping experience may appear to have remained largely consistent over the last decade. However, forward-thinking retailers have and continue to make significant investments to reshape their businesses around the expectations of their increasingly-digital consumers.

Why? While the price war will always rage, its significance has diminished. Today, customer retention requires more than a discount. The focus needs to be on building contextual experiences that cater to the unique requirements of diverse customers. It’s no longer just about the human interaction between staff and consumers, but the value that is delivered to those customers before they visit a store, while they are there, and after they have left.

So far, retailers have relied largely on loyalty programs to capture customer data. These have provided a starting point to understanding which products customers enjoy, allowing retailers to make informed decisions about stock while offering bonuses and discounts to consumers in return for information and loyalty.

But loyalty programs are limited. Today’s leading shopping venues have turned to network-based data to establish knowledge bases of their visitors, whether they make a purchase or not. Advancements in cloud services, mobile and wireless technologies have transformed smartphones into chatterboxes of information which drive real business insight.

In fact, analyst firm IDC forecasts worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics to reach US$187 billion in 2019 – an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2015 – with services-related opportunities to account for more than half of that. Retail is expected to follow this trend, representing revenue gain of $10 billion in 2019. Compare that to the leading verticals of discrete manufacturing ($22.8 billion) and banking ($22.1 billion), and the opportunity becomes clear.

By providing in-store Wi-Fi and turning this location-aware channel into a content and data acquisition tool, shopping centre owners and retailers are able to analyse the data supplied by visitors to make informed business decisions that are contextual and personalised over time, rather than assumed. Shopping centres that have already invested in these data analytics capabilities have been able to determine, for example: who their customers are based on behaviour, which parts of the centre are the key attractors, which stores are more popular than others; how long visitors spend in particular zones; how to optimise traffic flows to minimise congestion based on foot traffic; and where to add new facilities, such as restrooms, escalators and cafes. This data can be integrated with sales figures to understand spend per visitor by profile and time. As a result, the information can be used to renovate and expand existing shopping centres, support a store launch, or inform the structural layout of planned venues which haven’t yet been built. It can also underpin targeted and customised marketing, defined by the behaviour of particular customer segments.

Similarly, the retailers which are using Wi-Fi to analyse customer data are revitalising their stores based on that consumer information. For example, a major retail chain is currently relying on data analytics to help extend its footprint in an increasingly competitive market containing several prominent players. The company was able to determine total visits, average dwell times, peak periods, and common flows of foot traffic throughout the day. It is using this data to deliver unique content to each user who signed up for the service; this includes targeted offers, sale alerts and special discounts to which other shoppers don’t have access. The company continues to analyse the data provided by customers to optimise the shopping experience by relocating items across its floor space.

With continued interest in customer data from retailers, the industry has the opportunity to revitalise public perception of brands, allowing shopping centres and stores to develop relationships with consumers that drive greater revenues for the former and memorable experiences for the latter. Retailers must remember that these digital tools need to put customers first, the conditions underpinning Wi-Fi must be concise so as to protect the integrity and security of those signing up for the services, and the value being delivered to customers must be ongoing – after all, they need to have a reason to provide their data.