Retail analytics technology is in its infancy in South Africa but in the US and Europe, it is used extensively to encourage a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and, in so doing, optimise the retail industry’s performance. As Justin Honaman puts it in ‘Top 6 Retail Trends to Watch in 2015’, retail business decision-makers are increasingly recognising the value of data and insight-driven decision-making and that these decisions rely heavily on information and analytics. “In 2015, retailers will continue to invest in data-driven marketing and demand-driven retail execution frameworks as competitive differentiators,” says Honaman.

Moving Tactics, the leading South African digital signage solutions company, has recently launched Moving Tactics Retail Analytics, a division focused on the gathering of data from brick-and-mortar retail environments through the use of a variety of technological and digital analytical tools, thereby determining patterns and trends that can be used to make informed business decisions to increase footfall and basket size for retailers.

Chris Day, Managing Director of Moving Tactics, says, “Retail Analytics in South Africa has until now consisted mainly of labour intensive work with people physically counting and surveying customers to gather information. Not only is this costly, but it’s also a ‘dipstick approach’ and doesn’t provide the bigger picture analysis that is so crucial in turning data into revenue. Internationally, where retail analytics technology is already implemented in a number of environments, their main industry priorities have been perfecting the technology whilst finding the balance between the gathering of valuable and usable data, and consumer privacy”.

A variety of technological and digital analytical tools are used to gather and analyse the information.  Scott Matthews, New Business Developer at Moving Tactics Retail Analytics, explains, “The tools we provide our clients not only have specific data gathering capabilities across different metrics but they also create a synergy when used together or with other data inputs

–  MT.Ask uses the incentive of free Wi-Fi to get customers to answer two survey questions to provide qualitative data on customer satisfaction, customer insights, database granularity and direct marketing;

–  MT.Listen uses strategically placed sensors to gain insight to customers’ movements and behaviour in a location with the use of WiFi technology;

–  MT.Track is an automated audience measurement service that uses cameras to pick up people within its line of sight, which counts the amount of viewers, traffic, how long they were there for and uses algorithms to determine demographics such as age class and gender;

–  MT.Queue buttons that allow the cashier to indicate to the next waiting customer that their till is free gathers insights into transaction processing time, teller activity, total customers and busiest times. If the system picks up that there is a spike in customers after 4pm on Fridays, the retailer can plan to have more staff members on duty during this time.

“By leveraging analytics tools and models, retailers can boost customer loyalty by creating a personalised shopping experience that matches an offer to a customer’s need. However, customer privacy is important to us so the tools that are used don’t gather information or details on individual customers and therefore they are compliant with consumer privacy laws in South Africa”, adds Matthews.

In addition, through the use of retail analytics tool, retailers are able to increase store efficiencies, introduce in-store added-value initiatives, and provide consistent and reliable service, thereby simplifying and improving the customer shopping experience.

Moving Tactics is currently working with clients in the retail and Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industries across Southern Africa to optimise their revenue and performance. As Honaman affirms, “While retailers are at times slow to adopt data-enabled insights and analytics best practices, a small subset of global retailers are heavily investing in data scientists, data and analytic discovery platforms, and new analytic tools. New analytics, insights, and resulting decisions will fuel the potential for growth while maximising existing investments – and allow for faster business decisions based on new performance metrics”.

Moving Tactics is a leading South African digital signage solutions company that develops customised digital signage technologies and is constantly creating innovative communication solutions.