Physical environments have become more connected to the web and tools are harnessing the data generated by consumer actions. Retailers have new opportunities to learn about their shoppers and drive sales through informed improvements. Industry leaders are designing fully integrated shopping experiences to cater to well-informed, digitally enabled consumers — creating a new electronic retail ecosystem.
Brick-and-mortar stores now have the ability to track and analyze customers’ actions with precision similar to that of online retailers. By isolating the variables that affect a purchase, retailers can act with weblike nimbleness to deploy more salespeople, alter displays, or put out product B to replace product A.
• Euclid and Path Intelligence gather information on pedestrian behavior and fl ow by installing sensors throughout the shopping complex and picking up on passive, anonymous emissions from shoppers’ phones.
Online Identities in Real-World Places
Retailers are creating “smart” environments where online identities can be surfaced through passive technologies to reveal shared connections. Physical check-ins have been introduced at resorts, theme parks, and car shows to effortlessly connect online and offline identities.
• Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg built a pop-up store where customers could purchase chocolates in exchange for good deeds that were promised to friends. Instead of a cash register, the store had iPads where people could log in to Facebook and post their promises, putting their social currency up as a sort of collateral.
• Tasti D-Lite instituted a loyalty program in which patrons earn extra TastiRewards points by linking their loyalty card to their online profiles. With a single swipe, posts are sent to Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare with an attached coupon so a patron’s loyalty benefits his or her entire network.
• C&A Brazil installed special hangers in their São Paulo store that displayed the number of Facebook likes the item received. Connecting online sentiment and physical stores helps bring consumer influence and opinion directly to the retail experience.