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Tech Guest Viewpoint: Actionable Analytics & the Hourly Employee


In-store analytics solutions continue to gain momentum as retailers analyze a variety of store performance measures such as shopper activity maps, display effectiveness, and customer dwell time. These analytics have provided incredible insight for corporate and store management.

The Big Data that they generate can help retailers identify all manner of important information, from what areas of the store are hotspots (or not), to how staffing may be better aligned with peak traffic times and departments, to how checkout queues may be better optimized, and even to determining which associates are most helpful and productive when it comes to interacting with shoppers.

Despite all these benefits, though, something critical is missing. For all the insight and value provided by these analytics tools, they struggle to be immediately relevant and actionable, since much of the data they generate must be analyzed in an offline or non-real-time manner.

Yes, they’re helpful; but they’re not helpful now, while the shopper is still in the store with an unanswered product question or hasn’t made up her mind about whether to purchase what’s in her cart. In other words, they may help management plan for tomorrow or next week by determining what happened today or last week – but they are of little to no value for alerting associates in real time as to what is needed in the moment. In this way, they fail to improve shoppers’ experience, and similarly fail to assist retail associates to close potential sales.

A far better approach – and a great enhancement to the analytics offerings of today – would be to make these insights and data available in the moment so hourly retail employees can take immediate action. And the most efficient way to do that is to communicate actionable insights directly and discreetly into the ear of any and all qualified and available associates – immediately.

Such an approach is far more effective and efficient than, say, a manager receiving an email notifying them of the dwell time trigger (which they may or may not see in time) or, worse, an end-of-day report to the telling them which opportunities they missed that day, but does nothing to help at the time help was actually needed.

In-store analytics provide great insight, much of which is especially useful for longer term decisions, such as where certain displays are most effective or identifying ideal staffing levels. But to take in-store analytics to the next level, to make it immediately actionable, it is crucial to incorporate real-time, in-ear notifications that empower associates to take action at the moment it is needed most – now.

Patrick Fitzgerald is executive VP at Theatro.

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