How using Big Data and technology can drive retail traffic

Using big data and technology such as AI can help retailers make better-informed business decisions.

As consumers shift their apparel, beauty and accessories purchases to online, store traffic continues to decline. In August, year-over-year instore traffic dropped 6.6 percent, according to RetailNext. For fashion apparel retailers who may not have a strong e-commerce presence, the ongoing drop in traffic is a paramount concern — especially heading in the fall the holiday shopping season.

But there are solutions such as beacon technology and artificial intelligence — and other non-traditional technologies — available that can help drive shoppers into stores by informing the merchandising, marketing and advertising strategies of retailers and brands.

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Tyler Carlson, vice president of sales at SiteZeus, said big data and AI can also improve traffic to stores. First, they can use AI and big data to determine where the location of the store should be,” Carlson said.

In order to determine this, companies must look at placement among competitors, other existing locations, demographic profiles and spending habits of their target customers. Another significant way to drive traffic is to have an understanding of who their customers are and break it down into different segments of revenue,”

Carlson explained. “For example, instead of a business treating all of their customers as one target customer, they can instead define who is driving sales for ‘youth items’ and look at ‘accessory items.’ This way, businesses are targeting customers through personalization, rather than assumptions.” There are also non-traditional technologies that can be deployed such as “location intelligence,” which is a “tool capability that relates geographic contexts to business data and helps to determine the success of a location,” Carlson said.

“Logistics including the size of the store, parking lot and the ease of access from the road are all considered when picking the ideal location,”

he added. “Instead of relying on gut instincts, which has served the industry well for the past couple of decades, companies can now leverage location intelligence to find out where to put a location, who their competition is and the performance drivers from a customer standpoint.”

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