Holiday Preparedness: Perfecting the Customer Experience
Software That Anticipates the Customer Need—in the Store
Just listening to one of my favorite Tracy Chapman songs – Telling Stories. The first couple of lines in the song ‘There is fiction in the space between, the lines on your page of memories’, really hit home about something we do in retail. This ties into my second note on holiday preparedness - I know, seems a bit out there, but stay with me, I promise there is method in my madness.
Between the Lines – Memory and Reality in Retail
The song is really cool, it hits multiple philosophical chords on how we embellish to fit in, but the reason it hit me is that I believe we do versions of this, in our businesses. There is a gap, a definitive, obvious gap between what the numbers tell us and our memories of the day itself.
If we go back and look at the Black Friday through Cyber Monday peak – the numbers tell us a story. That story could be that we met, exceeded or fell short of our numbers. If we fell short, then we look at everything again, scrutinizing the promotions we ran, how our shelves were Stocked, whether our Campaigns were run successfully, and every other straw we can pull at to analyse what to fix and how to fix it before we hit Christmas and the sales. Make the most of what is to come.
This is where my analogy lies, See I promised I would get there. The memory of the day, versus the information and numbers collected on that day. Memory – it really is a pretty cool source of information. Part of this memory you can get from your staff on the ground, in the warehouses, driving your trucks, maintaining your websites.
The advantage of the online store, is that every action is tracked and can be traced, analyzed and corrected. This is true of the physical store too, but it just needs to be done differently.
At Mindtree, we realize this and have been working with our clients to help them assess and use the ‘Sense Memory’ of their Brick and Mortar Stores.
Hard metrics like point of sale (POS), inventory movement, restocking and resource scheduling will give you numbers on your average sales per day/hour, order value, product movements and other really cool, important perspectives – however, this is the fiction or the space between the lines.
This space is your store’s ‘sense memory’.
The ‘sense’ is the information picked up by your store staff on a subjective level, and video/surveillance information on a more objective level.
‘Sense Memory’ in a physical store, is a bit trickier to get to – it is the combination of store employee feedback, video information and if you can get to it customer feedback.
Visualize Your Floor
At Mindtree we have a really cool platform called FlooreSense that really helps our client get this insight. In a nut shell, our system can plug into your video feeds both in and outside your store, and build heat maps, trends and movements. It can isolate your store staff, and generate movement maps of consumers within your store.
This information will help you determine whether you lost consumers due to long check-out lines, or if they walked in and out of the store because it was too red zoned with people in one area, did you have the right spread of sales staff, were your restocking/stock movement processes hindering sales on any level? It can also help identify any other questions/pain points that have impacted either your sales or customer experience.
Our systems also take into account legislation and concerns on personal privacy and data confidentiality as well as it can plug into your systems fairly easily, so quick turn-around of information is easier.
Why would you do this?
Bargains/promotions and deals are what used to bring consumers out of their homes in miserable late November weather to be first in line. This isn’t really true anymore. They can get those deals online – without (for the moment) instant gratification. They can binge watch Stranger Things, in the warmth of their homes and wait for midnight or 4 am or whenever the promotion goes online to take advantage of it.
They are in our stores, we have their attention. They have made eye contact with us, have reached out; what we now do with them – that is really up to us. Hold them close or distance them – and how do we do better the next time round, that really is our space, it is our game to loose.
Moving ahead – together
Let us do this together. A Physical store is a dynamic, living, breathing, being. Understanding it – we call it Auditing – I know it sounds a bit structured - but all in all it really is looking at what happened and figuring out ways that we can work through it. Some areas are really quick fixes for the immediate peak and some, longer term plans. The important thing is to pay attention.
Our stores are physical manifestations of our brands. of our energies. of our emotions. They need that care. We are all in this together. Our consumers’ experience is ours to protect, with a ferocity and speed of efficiency that will always make them feel cared for. Makes them feel heard.
We need to use all the tools in our toolbox to make sure we do that.
In my next note on, I was going to look at covering the space on Consumer Communication – Contact Centers, Emails, Appeasements, Social Media – especially if things have not gone to plan.
Would you like to speak with a Mindtree Retail expert? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org