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.




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

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