In this digital era, driven by a wide collection of smart customer technologies, we have seen a complete change in consumer behavior in the past few years. Consumers are more informed than ever, having access to various sources of information, which makes them more demanding and less forgiving to mistakes. Moreover, they expect that retailers lovingly know them and will not move away from turning to a different brand. We have seen many retailers fight the decrease in brand loyalty and market goodwill through promotions or heavy discounts. However, we believe that will only decrease brand loyalty even more as relationships with brands are not built on price, they are built on a much deeper level, the brand.
But we have seen that many retailers are having a knowledge gap between physical store visits and sales, understanding a customer’s journey through your store provides insights into what, where, when, and why it happened.
Sales staff engage with customers at varied locations within the store, however, they are not monitoring exactly where customers did or didn’t go, and also it has been noticed that customer movement inside stores have to do with conversions. Even slight changes in routine can increase the traffic around promotional displays. Although heat maps help in knowing which areas of the sales floor best catch a shopper’s attention and which areas are overlooked is vital to store engagement and sales.
Heat maps are the solution allowing you to view visitor activity and trends throughout your store by day or period. Managers and administrators are then able to make arrangement changes that improve flow to key areas. This helps them to analyze which areas of the store catch buyers’ attention and which are overlooked. It is so specific, it can tell which items in a store got the most attention from consumers and which product can get attention but due to the dead zone, it couldn’t get expected response.
By aligning that data with sales, managers or administrators can see if customers remained in a specific area, showing they were attracted to an item but didn’t find it tempting enough to buy. Retailers can then determine whether the issue was pricing, quality, missing sizes, or something else.
Here are some of the smartest ways retailers are using heat maps to grow their stores or we can say increase their in-store conversions.
Maximize your resources
Retailers can use heat maps to realize shopper activities. For instance, you can detect where customers congregate most or opening a new register to eliminate lines. As a traffic pattern begins to emerge, you’ll know when to staff up for peak hours or scale down during a quiet time. Heat maps help operators to recognize areas that need additional marketing.
Optimize your store layout
Understanding shopper flow is essential for improving your store layout. By analyzing heat map data, retailers can identify low-performing areas and rearrange the layout to better serve customer needs. Retailers can also experiment to find the most effective and useful arrangement of products, shelves, and departments.
For example, if one area sees a low number of visitors because it’s off customers’ main path, you could rearrange shelves to point people in that direction, revive dead zones of the store.
Another example, a person in a supermarket going from the flour section to the egg to the baking powder section, and eventually to the chocolate section based on that path, assumptions could be made that the customer is baking a cake. A retailer would then be able to suggest a recipe or a discount on something to top the cake by placing an advertisement between the paths to attract customers.
Comparing the heat maps from different locations also enables retailers to understand how they can improve each store’s performance. They can test new layouts in one location and determine whether it makes sense to apply the tested layout to the entire chain.
Measuring interest in promotional displays
Heat map’s data can be used to measure the promotional and marketing efforts. Retailers can clarify questions like: Are more customers visiting a certain location or department because of a certain ad? Are we using the best window and displays? Knowing how long each customer visits a store, and how much time is spent in one area, conveys an interest in the products within a department. The areas that see the most hang out time tend to see the highest conversion.
By tracking consumers every moment in-store, retailers can identify the areas that customers approach and use that data for the product placement decision. Once you get the analytics and understand which part of the store are most trafficked, you can place the less selling products to increase sales. You can also pull desirable items into less busy zones or dead zones to increase traffic to areas that might be ignored.
Engagement and dead zones. Through color variations, heat maps can show activity levels with specific areas. High activity shows increased engagement, whereas low activity shows minor or no engagement. Retailers can think about why there is minimal activity and decide the action to find the solutions. Solutions can be changed to layout, signage, product description, or promotional displays. Doing this, you can understand which areas are traffic or engagement drivers.
Being able to test small changes in layout, product placement, messaging, and then quickly view the results assists in an ongoing evolution.
Testing different actions that create engagement and route traffic to specific areas will help keep your layouts appropriate and welcoming.