There are a lot of pros and cons to doing online shopping as opposed to in-store shopping. Online shopping seems like it only affects consumers by giving them a different medium to make their purchases but we fail to realize that it affects the sellers as well. Through online purchases, businesses gather a lot of data about consumers. Sellers can track which sections of items are the most popular, which products are the most viewed and for how long, and which products are most browsed at but not bought. This gives online sellers a competitive advantage over in-store sellers as they know more about their customers. And everyone knows that the understanding your customer is one of the most important factors in having a successful business. This is empowering in-store sellers to seek e-commerce level data.
The article talks about one company that brings customer tracking data to in-store businesses. This is in hopes of slowly bridging the competitive gap between in-store purchases and online purchases. How can they possibly get consumer data without changing the in-store purchase process? By simply observing the customers! Prism Skylabs specializes in in-store surveillance equipment that tracks customer movement. Prism installs special cameras that captures everything in the store and then is sent to the store’s computers where it is processed by Prism’s special software. The images of the actual shoppers are cut out to respect their privacy.
What is so different about Prism’s techniques than regular surveillance cameras? Prism’s software allows them to “look at which products are hot, which are being moved around and touched, and all kinds of data that allow merchandise teams to understand what is going on across a wide range of stores”. This allows the sellers to get information that the type of information that online sellers use to enhance their systems to get more purchases.
Who is using Prism? Right now, Prism has partnered up with 30 retailers. Retailers that Prism is working with include T-Mobile and Famous Footwear. Does it actually work? A candy store in Oklahoma City was using Prism in their stores and after close observation they changed their premium display to low-selling seasonal candy rather than their famous candies that buyers usually take the time to look through the store to buy. This allowed the store to quantify the customer’s thoughts and make an effective decision in their operations.
Moreover, Prism is not the only data providing company that is emerging. Other companies are picking up on the importance and building unique strategies and techniques to sell to businesses. For example, Shopkick is an app which personalizes deals for a customer in real time as they walk through the store.
Is it worth it to sellers to invest in these data gathering companies?
How do you feel as a consumer towards this type of innovation? Do you feel that you will be making more beneficial purchases or do you feel manipulated by the sellers to buy their preferred products?
3 thoughts on “Retail to E-tail”
I feel as if Prism is a beneficial method to use towards consumers. Employees can become more knowledgeable about the products that are most popular which will help them to easily sell. I believe that this company will make shopping much more efficient for consumers.
Although they have procedures for ensuring the anonymity of customers, some may still worry about how invading this might be. Also, if traditional retail is falling out of favorite for online shopping, which makes more sense for stores: focus on online shopping or use a technology like this to improve in-store service? I think it’s a very interesting use of technology.
I believe for retailers, technologies like prism can be good investment. In addition to retailers, consumers can also benefit from that, as store will promote products that are more popular. As my experience, when shopping online, consumers like me, check most popular items first. Therefore, I think people will make purchases that are in demand and beneficiary to them.