This article was originally posted on SalesTechStar
By Keir Hoppe
With August barely in the rear-view, it’s easy to forget that the holiday shopping season is fast approaching. Retail brands are gearing up to captivate consumers and secure substantial share of their revenue during this concentrated buying season. The platforms they stand up and manage for delivering the right products and services that meet their target customer needs goes well beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar store. Today’s successful retailers are managing a digital portfolio of channels from an online storefront to a multitude of social channels. A well crafted and delivered digital experience is a profit strategy that delivers on brand awareness, global reach, optimal user access and ease, as well as customer affinity.
Retailers have countless tried-and-true methods for positioning their products and services in the best light for attracting their target audience, but many are not aware of a hidden profit gem baked in their organization’s existing infrastructure investments. This profit gem unlocks unparalleled insights for e-commerce success.
Most brick-and-mortar retailers have an existing video surveillance system designed to deliver certain safety protocols, deter theft, and aid in investigation all as part of a larger asset protection and risk management infrastructure investment. The cameras and video management systems in today’s video surveillance solutions are robust, advanced and allow extraction of metadata that enables analytics that can serve multiple functional groups within an organization including marketing
Infusing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning with the data extracted from a retailer’s video surveillance system, unleashes a level of custom intelligence so valuable to the business operational groups yet so many are not aware.
AI allows users to search, recognize, and delineate major objects by type. More sophisticated technologies now enable custom identification by way of color, disposition, physical specific attributions, expression, and more of an object. And even more sophisticated solutions that incorporate Machine Learning (as a subset of AI) will train your system with pre-stored data to proactively alert, derive quantifiable insights and empower action plans.
For retail marketers, video analytics can derive valuable sales and marketing information to navigate optimization and growth strategies. Specifically, insights on brick-and-mortar foot traffic, demographics of store visitors, traffic flow and paths, dwell time, and reaction to product offerings can feed marketers insights in defining and influencing a positive customer experience. From optimal store layout, to product placement and check out management – the opportunities are expansive for in-store selling success. But these opportunities are not just limited to brick-and-mortar optimization, these same derived video analytics can also be used to optimize a retailer’s digital experiences.
Data driven digital marketing strategy is not a new concept. Marketers, including retailers, use such tools as google analytics and Hot Jar to understand digital traffic movement across site, clicks and conversions. Video analytics from existing surveillance brick-and-mortar investment is another, deeper, tool to get even more custom in your approach, messaging and experience built for retail digital channels. Digital processing and insights gleaned from surveillance footage is about more than just where the buyer hovered the longest within the store. Video analytics gives you insights on consumer habits, in all forms, to create a comprehensive, and actionable marketing strategy for an optimized and financially lucrative customer experience.
These invaluable insights can be leveraged to inform marketing and merchandising strategy both in store and online. Such business intelligence data that can shed light on customer preferences, browsing habits, purchase patterns, identify and prioritize high-traffic areas and product displays, but also paint larger pictures that reveal consumer motivations and expectations. For instance, a retailer may be devising its product portfolio, placement, pricing and the right persona per product for their online digital holiday promotion. Leveraging in-store video analytics for products on the floor today in past holiday seasons, a marketer can glean valuable insights on interest, the demographics of whom is buying that product, their initial sentiment on product packaging and price, how long it takes them to decide to buy. Other purchasing factors to consider as valuable insights include complimentary products they are purchasing with the product, influencers that may be with them in making the purchases, and/or does it require assistance from an associate in understanding more about the product. All the above is knowledge a marketer could and would use to define whom they target, how they target, what to bundle, the right price point, the right channel and right placement within their online presence and overall digital strategy.
In-store video analytics enables an optimized demand generation strategy across all routes to market. For those that practice (or what to practice) true data-driven marketing and company return on investments, abridging your current video surveillance analytics to your marketing technology stack gives you competitive advantage for not only holiday planning and profit maximization, but also year round guidance direct from your consumer using the colossal data-processing power of AI-driven insights to hyper-personalize in-store and online experiences that keep shoppers coming back for more.