In a challenging time for retail, many brick-and-mortar merchants are seeking to transform themselves into more effective selling and customer service organizations – with technology playing a central role in this process.

A key component of this transformation is collecting and acting on the best possible data regarding how shoppers behave inside their stores.

At the annual RetailNext Executive Forum, which gathered nearly 100 retail executives and thought leaders, in-store analytics leader RetailNext surveyed attendees to understand their opinions about how these critical technology trends will affect them in the next few years.  The survey findings revealed great interest in collecting the factual information retailers need to improve their stores to drive more sales and profit.

When asked, “How does in-store data collection and analysis compare to two years ago? respondents were asked to select one response. No attendees noted somewhat or greatly declined usage.

  • 60% answered increased significantly
  • 23% answered somewhat increased
  • 17% answered about the same

When asked “Who are the most important stakeholders for in-store data collection?,” the top-two responses from attendees ranked, in order of importance, indicated that interest in collecting in-store data comes from those in pragmatic roles looking to improve the day-to-day effectiveness of the ongoing programs that drive business, led by store operations and marketing.

  • Store operations:  81%
  • Marketing:  76%
  • Business intelligence or customer insights:  43%
  • IT:  10%
  • Finance:  0%

In an industry where minute margins matter, metrics are critical. RetailNext asked retailers ”Which measurements are most important to your company?,” and found the top-two responses to be, in order:

  • Conversion:  89%
  • Shopper yield:  53%
  • Average Transaction Value (ATV):  26%
  • Entrance traffic:  26%
  • Sales per square foot:  5%

“Not surprisingly, conversion, a staple of the retail industry, was by far the most chosen critical metric among top-two answers.  Shopper yield, which is a fairly new and sophisticated metric, was the second most popular answer,” observed Tim Callan , CMO of RetailNext.

“It’s interesting to note that sales per square foot, often referenced in retail industry analysis, ranked lowest among this set of retail executives and thought leaders.”

To establish which major technology trends are most on retailers’ minds, RetailNext asked “What do you think are the most important technology trends affecting retail in the next 5 years?”  The top-two responses ranked as:

  • Omnichannel:  62%
  • In-store mobile POS:  48%
  • Big Data:  43%
  • Mobile commerce:  29%
  • Showrooming:  19%
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