How Digital Analytics Are Changing The High Street

Harriet Coleman our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 7/18/2018 2:10 PM
As customers, we are now looking for more and more personalisation in our shopping experiences. We expect recommendations suited to our tastes and budgets, as well as a seamless customer journey. However, this has come at the cost of the more traditional shopping trip. The retail industry, long leading the way in utilising data and insights to provide unique, tailored online experiences, has left their own bricks and mortar high street stores at risk of redundancy.

Now that AI is entering the Customer Journey, there is more necessity than ever for these outlets to evolve how they operate and apply the tools they have available to develop their stores,  advancing their back office processes and in-store experiences. 

Having initially been applied to just the customer journey, digital analytics are now being used to help shape every touch point throughout the sales process. From the design of the store, to sales predictions, through to product conception and final purchase.

Evolving The Experience


As retail executives have begun to take a closer look at their own operations, it has become clear that they need to go beyond just having enough staff during their busy seasons. With many of us now using our phones to make online price comparisons whilst in-store, the entire experience needs to change.

This has facilitated a move from predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics, with data analysis being used to optimise store operations, set pricing models, and dictate the future of the high street store.

Minding The Store


If you’ve ever been to a busy store with more customers than cashiers, you’ll understand one of the major challenges retail businesses face. Compared to the few clicks required for us to search for, purchase, and ship an eCommerce order, having to stand in a length queue seems like a lot of effort, even for us British.

It’s here where in-store analytics shine. Store owners can manage operations by optimising the number of staff required based on historical data and various scenarios gleaned from the data. Above and beyond traffic numbers, retailers can ultilise other trends and data to go one step further; weather predictions, location intelligence, peak hours and product availability provide them with the opportunity to precision manage their operations and maximise profit margin. 

Beyond Customer Data


Against big online retailers, such as Amazon, one of the biggest challenges has been pricing. A survey from Vista found that 81% of the British public still see the high-street store as ‘vital to the shopping experience’ and so, to maintain this level of necessity against falling online prices, shops must continue to evolve.

Some leading outlets are already using new technologies to enhance the in-store experience by introducing Augmented Reality (AR) into their stores. Both Topshop and Gap have installed AR mirrors into certain outlets. Looking into these would allow you to see how the clothes you are trying on may look in different colours and styles, whilst Specsavers have an in-store app that lets you asses the best shape and size glasses for your face shape. Whilst such schemes are still in their early stages, they could be the answer for ensuring that the high-street store remains an essential part of the shopping experience.

A Guiding Hand


Retail businesses are now looking for a guiding hand to support them in calculating gathered data, as well as to make recommendations for future innovation.

If you're looking for a permanent or contract Data & Analytics position within retail, we may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies here.

Alternatively, you can call us at +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com.




Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

MARKETING INSIGHT AND THE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK LOOP

Marketing Insight And The Customer Feedback Loop

As the holidays approach, Marketers are focusing more than ever on User Experience (UX). They’re not only looking at what kind of product customers might want or need but how will it look and feel to them? If a product doesn’t have what you need or doesn’t function as appealingly as others, what good is it? Key elements such as aesthetics, usability, and ‘feel’ are integral to the user experience. Because these elements come from such seemingly disparate departments as Marketing and Developers, it’s important to figure out how to come together for the ultimate UX. After all, if today’s buyers buy experiences over tangible products, then ensuring the experience is important to bridging the gap between customers, marketers, and developers. This, when done right, helps to build and retain customer relationships; the foundations upon which business is built. Design User Experience with M&D By bringing marketers and developers (M&D) together, you create the opportunity for innovation. But there are some key elements to consider when designing UX and it follows four stages. Do your research. Identify needs, spending patterns, buying behaviours, and historical data to determine what it is customers desire. Find out what they want or need and give it to them. This is the role of the marketer backed by development.Gather the data. Using multiple touch points across multiple sources and channels, find what works. What product offers usability and determine how design choices can help to create a seamless experience for your customer.Design your idea and create a prototype. Brainstorm your design. What are its product features, user interface, and aesthetics? Does it look user friendly? Would you pick it up off the shelf? Why? What is it about the product that makes you want to have it? What problems can it solve for you?Time to Test it. Is your product user friendly? What are its useful functions? How does it look? Feel? Incorporate feedback to improve its performance, function, or aesthetic. What does your test market say? Would they buy it? Why or why not? Bridging the Gap with collaboration We can forget sometimes, lost in our jargon and our buzzwords, that it’s the customer who we hope will benefit from our product or service. Yet, traditionally, marketers gathered customer preferences and drove sales, while developers designed products based on those preferences. However, the two departments were often siloed and creativity, usability, function, and aesthetics either got overshadowed or underrepresented to varying degrees. Enter customer feedback an integral point of reference for all parties involved. Customers are at the heart of user experience and it’s their feedback which can inform the user experience. What better marketing insights than those straight from the customer? Working with Marketers and Developers, customers provide a crucial component to helping marketers understand market dynamics. On the flip side, customer feedback can help mitigate risk or issues down the road by providing solutions and helping to resolve problems. the impact on Product Development By conducting user experience testing, marketers and developers can determine if a product is a good fit for customer needs. At the same time, they may identify issues to be resolved which can be learned of in real-time for a better user experience once the product is launched. Each has their role to play in designing the user experience and contributing to market insights for more informed business decisions.  These include: Marketers are part of the design experience from conception to inception. They are responsible for gathering the data to identify problem areas, working with Developers to create a product or service to solve a problem, and gathering data from the customer. Do they like this product? Why? What pain points does it serve? And how can it be made better or improved? Developers are the designers. They must take the information the marketers have collected and try to make the product into something functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Though they operate more at the back-end, they too much collaborate with customers to capture issues and solve problems. Developers test the products, making improvements as needed. Each stage a constant in UX design.Customers offer invaluable data and metrics through their feedback and reviews. The insights they contain as the end user about using the product, revealing its challenges, and suggesting room for improvement, make this three-part collaboration the final link in the chain between marketers, developers, and customers when it comes to designing the ultimate user experience. If you’re interested in the relationship between insights and UX, we may have a role for you. Check out our current opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

The Next Generation Of French Web Analysts

The Next Generation Of French Web Analysts

The role and purpose of Web Analysts has evolved over the last few years, and now there are a number of different types of candidate profile across the French marketplace. Whilst, traditionally, Web Analysts focused on Data pulled from websites before using their findings to make business recommendations on how to improve the site and streamline user experience.  However, as, digital channels, including apps, social media and mobile devices have multiplied, the amount of Data available to gather insights from has increased dramatically. Web Analytics has become Digital Analytics as a result of the need to quantify and better understand customer behaviour regardless of the channel or device used.  Across the world’s leading technology hubs, the role of the Digital Analyst is no longer to just relay insights from a company’s website, but to analyse different Data sources, work with complex technologies and tell stories with their findings. We’re now seeing the same evolution take place across the French market.  Today's Web Analysts  Throughout the era of digital measurement and optimisation tools, the use of AB tests and MVT tests has allowed Web Analysts to trial different online solutions for their enterprises. Nevertheless, until recently, these have remained centred on only one channel; the website. Over recent years, however, new categories of Analytics have now emerged, all of which need to be viewed as equally important:  In-store Analytics: The measurement of physical store Data, a real-world equivalent of web analytics. Mobile Analytics: The analysis of users’ traffic and behaviour on mobile sites and applications. Social Analytics: The analysis of Data from social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  As a result of this diversification, businesses are now not only looking for technical Web Analysts who can work with Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics and implement tags with GTM or DTM. There is now an appetite to go further and deeper with their analysis and Web Analysts who can use tools such as Big Query/ SQL, R or Python are high in-demand. A candidate with ‘Data Web’ vision, a strong knowledge of Data and KPIs in different business models, stands out amongst ever-increasing competition.  Furthermore, as Web Analysts use a lot of Data, particularly personal Data, a strong knowledge of GDPR and the legal implications of their work are also incredibly beneficial.  In other words, Web Analysts are becoming more versatile. No longer siloed to their own space, Web Analysts should have experience of collaborating with marketing and technical teams, as well as to top management and senior stakeholders.  Tomorrow's Web Analytics With this progression of Analytics tools and skillsets, Digital Analysts are now playing a more important role in businesses than ever before.  As they continue to present new ways of interpreting and visualising Data, their impact on the bottom line is being felt more significantly than ever.   As a result, Web Analysts are now open to significantly more professional opportunities. Specifically, if they have a strong technical skillset and a business mindset, they can move into a Digital Business Analyst or Data Scientist position. This means that the best candidates are in incredibly high-demand and businesses need to be sure of what skillset they need before beginning a recruitment process.  For example, a company recently going through a big change in tools migration, such as moving from Adobe to GA, would be in need of a strong technical Web Analyst who can implement those tools. A business that is further down the line with their capabilities, on the other hand, may be looking for a candidate with a real business vision, in additional to an analytical skillset, who can make informed business recommendations. Whilst the French market may be in transition, we’re already seeing these changes take place in other regions. In the UK, there is a large amount of conversation around ‘Digital Intelligence’, and Web Analysts are now beginning to be viewed as important as Data Scientists within many leading organisations, partially because these roles are overlapping more and more. In fact, the lack of appreciation for Web Analysts in France is a point of contention for many candidates, something that was discussed frequently at this year’s MeasureCamp Paris.  Businesses who are looking to hire, and retain, Web Analysts need to be aware of this mindset. Candidates often share their apprehensions around the lack of training offered within their companies, as well as concerns about investment in their area. As Web Analysts continue to upskill, enterprises need to make sure they continue to offer growth, opportunity and a good working environment, particularly if they are seeking domestic talent.  Whether you are looking to expend your Web Analytics function or take the next step in your career, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expect consultants to find out more. 

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