1. Shopper & Customer

Leveling the Playing Field: Enhancing In-Store Sales Through Digital Tools

For years e-commerce sites enjoyed an “unfair advantage” over their brick-and-mortar competition. The combination of click tracking, behavioral analytics, and customer journey planning provided a wealth of data that was simply unavailable in a physical retail environment.

Loyalty programs, where customers scanned a plastic card at checkout, provided stores with shopper purchasing habits, but only worked when customers remembered to swipe their card. E-commerce sites, in contrast, captured all that information with user logins and never had to worry that data was skewed by a friendly person in line offering the use of their loyalty card.

E-commerce sites used the data they collected in sophisticated email marketing programs. Based on consumer preferences, online grocers could develop compelling, personalized offers designed to drive purchases, increase store visits, and boost overall basket value. For the most part, physical supermarkets didn’t have the mechanism to collect customer information at scale and use it in any meaningful way.

That all changed with the smart cart.

Retail Connects the Pieces

Online stores capture three different data sets. First, they have customer information associated with every purchase. Second, they have purchase information. Every item purchased from a site is captured in the CRM. Third, they have a deep understanding of every click that led to the purchase.

Combining these three elements makes the marketing efforts for online shopping so powerful. They can easily identify shopping trends and preferences down to the customer level and use that data to create compelling offers.

Physical stores have point-of-sale data showing everything that was purchased, but they can’t always associate it with a specific shopper. Furthermore, the customer journey has always been a blind spot for retailers. Retailers lacked basic insight into shopper behavior from the moment they enter the store until they reach the checkout line.

Smart carts, however, have changed that. Shoppers can log into their smart cart, allowing retailers to associate items purchased with the shopper. Data coming from the smart cart, such as the shopper’s journey, completes the triangle of data and finally places physical store owners on an even playing field with their online competitors.

Creating Compelling, Competitive Offers

The data gleaned from smart carts can be transformative for supermarkets. Store managers can unlock new levels of insight into shoppers’ journeys, from the paths shoppers take to the way they deliberate over certain purchases.

Online retailers have the capability to push an item that a customer is considering with a well-timed pop-up promotion; with smart carts, retailers can define triggers for automated promotions based on customer behavior. For example, if a customer walks back and forth near an item, promotions offering a discount or buy one, get one (BOGO) on the smart cart screen can help move the customer closer to a purchase.

There’s almost no limit to the type of promotions merchants can offer through the cart’s interface. Customers with a history of purchasing low-margin name brands can be incentivized to try a higher margin, less expensive store-brand product. Send special promotions to shoppers who haven’t been to the meat counter on their last few shopping trips. Bundle new products with old favorites to customers who like to try new things.

Improving the In-Store Experience With Smart Carts

Physical stores have always had some advantages over online competitors. Customers can take their purchases home immediately and feel confident that the food they bought was the freshest the store had to offer.

With the introduction of the smart cart, supermarkets are adding digital tools to their offering, enabling them to fully take on online stores. They’ve leveled the playing field and are in a position to recapture lost market share.

Raz Golan is the CEO and co-founder of Shopic, a company that provides smart cart and store digitalization solutions to the world’s leading grocers, bringing the advantages of online commerce to their physical stores. 

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