How To Analyze The Customer Journey in Retail Stores

Whether at a store level or as part of your brand’s wider marketing strategy, mapping your customer’s journey is a key process to improving engagement and sales. The data obtained will assist with  key questions, for example if customers can easily access all areas of the store, identifying the pain points and bottlenecks of a store’s layout, ensuring products and POS displays are in the best locations; are just some of the examples which need to be analyzed for a smooth purchasing journey.

Improve your customers’ in-store experience by using Shopper Engage Lite

Heatmaps are one of the best methods to validate store layouts or to examine the customer navigation for an improved shopper engagement. Ipsos’s Shopper Engage Lite (SEL) solution can be used in any store type and uses human observers, discreetly working in the background, who record in-store customer behavior and actions.  SEL is a powerful research tool as it captures natural customer behavior and demonstrates how stores work in practice. This solution is ideal  for plotting shopper paths around a store or category.

SEL requires no installation of electronic equipment, as the observers use maps and digital pens to record information. The data is then automatically transferred to a portal for the analytics department to create the reports. SEL allows retailers to instantly gauge performance of store layouts, merchandise, customer service levels and in-store communications. Heat maps can be created to show zone penetration levels and to improve layout efficiency and flow videos show exactly where customers venture and don’t venture in store.

It’s an ideal tool to use to determine numerous pain points and solutions, from identifying areas in a store that are understaffed, to zones that are less accessible to customers. Stores can then make changes based on the results e.g. staff can be deployed to understaffed areas or a change in store layout to allow a seamless journey for customers.

SEL also enables retailers to understand their store demographics, identify shopper profiles (finders, deciders, purchasers), customer dwell times in-store or at specific areas within the store, sections of the store customers head to first, where bottlenecks appear and how long customers are having to wait to be served at tills etc.

Understand shopper behavior with Eye Tracking

Eye-Tracking is a different methodology used to obtain the customer journey. It is easy to set up as customers are given a pair of non-intrusive glasses, with an eye-tracking device on them. However, as customers are wearing the eye-tracking device, behavior isn’t totally natural as they know their actions are being observed.

This solution highlights visual behavior in regard to how long, how often, how fast and in which significant areas customer attention was distributed. It can identify which parts of a  store/ display  catches a customer’s eye (high impact stimuli) and those that are ignored or missed, leading to enhanced displays and store layouts.

The data is also useful to distinguish how shoppers differ based on purchase type – where their focus is drawn to when browsing compared to when they exactly know which product they want to purchase.

It can answer key questions such as was an advertisement / logo / brand noticed, how much attention it received, the advert’s effectiveness in swaying a customer to purchase the product, the customer viewing time of the display and most importantly the ease for the customer to find the product.

Key outputs are heatmaps showing the length of time a customer spends looking at different products,, the ‘look path’ which shows eye-movement direction and the order of gaze, hit ratio showing percentage of customers looking at a certain stimuli and for how long. Based on heatmaps Eye Tracking is beneficial for making specific changes to marketing in-store and deciding on a brand’s best position within a store or display unit.

Shopper Engage Lite vs Eye Tracking

Whilst both solutions provide a useful insight into shopper analysis the two work in very different ways. Shopper Engage Lite is best for plotting shopper paths around a store / category and capturing natural behavior.  Due to the capture of natural behavior it provides a level of insight that eye tracking and other store research methods can’t deliver.

In contrast, eye-tracking focuses on what is grabbing customer attention within the store or within aisles, from posters, POS displays, products or an area, as opposed to the journey itself. It’s useful for deciding where to put products in  store, in order to grab the customer’s attention and influence behavior. Depending on the type of data required  both effective research tools can be used simultaneously.

Data gained will provide insight for retailers to make adjustments in store which will increase dwell time, improve customer experience and ultimately drive more sales.

If you’re interested in using these customer behavior and mapping solutions for your store or to improve the performance of your brand contact us here or call us on 01908 682 700.