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Last week The Lionesque Group took on NRF’s Annual Big Retail Show! The show is about the latest in the retail industry, with all types of companies from traditional brands to high-tech industry disruptors showcasing their offerings. In particular, I set my eyes on finding companies that improve operations through in-store tracking systems.

Within the in-store analytics & tracking category, the most observed trend was unified commerce. Unified commerce means taking all the assets that track different aspects of your business and making them work together to yield actionable insights. According to BRP, 85% of retailers indicate that unified commerce is a top priority to their business. Unified commerce solves a challenge that many retailers face: having too much data in too many different places, and thus not being able to take action. Using one solution that gathers and processes all your data gives retailers a holistic overview of your store(s).

At NRF, Fujitsu unveiled the second generation of their Retail Engagement Solution. As stated by Fujitsu, their “in-store analytics technology solution, creates a digital ecosystem for brick-and-mortar retailers capturing, monitoring and analyzing real-time customer behavior through video analytics, real-time monitoring, store comparison”
Another company providing unified commerce solutions is 3VR. I enjoyed learning how they integrate different video capabilities into different aspects of a retail environment, several of which I will describe in more detail.

A better understanding of unified commerce can be seen below:

 

Based on meeting with dozens of companies at this year’s conference, here is a rundown of the most common core components of unified commerce for 2017:

Point of Sales Systems
POS systems are able to track and provide many analytics that numerous brands still don’t always take advantage of. When combined with other in-store tracking systems, a company can get very powerful information including: conversion rates, average cart sizes, and repeat customers. A smart POS system, like Cayan, offers a wide range of products and services in which their applications in different devices communicate with each other to provide a deeper look into who your customers are and their spending habits.

Consumer Behavior
Everything consumers do in stores can be tracked. Companies like SMS Traffic Systems, use cameras and sensors to track foot traffic passing by and coming in the store, dwell times, customer paths, heat maps, among others. Combining this information with other analytics enables a better understanding of customer’s trends and habits. Imagine having this data and merging it with your POS data. Now a brand can start to have 360 information on customers, enabling the brand to deliver personalized experiences. Fortunately, many companies have kept design in mind, and most systems are not obtrusive and many are no different in dimensions than a regular security camera.

Image via Sentia.io

In-Store Sales Force
According to NRF, the retail industry supports 1 in 4 American jobs. In-store staff is one of the most important, if not the most important asset to a company. Your staffers are the face of the brand during in-store experiences and they also have a high impact on sales conversions. Empowering a sales floor team is as simple as giving staff the necessary tools to make smarter and data-driven decisions. Moreover, it allows for performance tracking as well, which can be done with RFID tags, beacons, and/or wifi receivers. Also tracking how a sales staff behaves within a retail setting and how they manage internal operations ultimately improves the overall experience for customers.

Video
In-store video cameras are usually implemented to monitor theft prevention and security. Nowadays, with unified commerce systems you can go beyond the traditional use of video footage and set rules for creating preventative measures in stores. For example, if too many customers are waiting in line to checkout, the staff can be notified to open up another check out line so the customers don’t have to wait. Additionally, Prism Skylabs now offers a smart video tool that allows for searching through video content with the use of keywords. For instance, if there was an incident at your store where the person who was wearing a red shirt stole merchandise, you simply enter “red shirt” and the platform will pull up all occurrences where people are wearing red shirts. You and your staff no longer need to spend countless hours behind a monitor searching through video content.

Integrating all your data into one single unified commerce solution to work together with other data will yield exponential benefits to your retail environment. The trend of having a wholesome view of all your data is here to stay and make retail operations more efficient and smarter.