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How Can a Retail ERP System Help Transform Your Stores into Data Gold Mines?

Retail ERP systems can deliver actionable data from store transactions

Retailers are turning to emerging technologies to transform their physical stores into data gold mines — and retail ERP systems are playing a key role.

An article on The New York Times website highlights how some brick-and-mortar stores are focusing on in-store analytics. For example, RetailNext, a California-based company, has video technology that tracks shoppers’ movement through the store.

Here’s how it helps retailers: If video footage records that men only take a minute to browse through the coat department, for instance, the store could streamline its display of men’s outerwear. The company’s technology also includes data and Wi-Fi cell smartphone tracking, which helps the store recognize returning shoppers and the time between in-store visits because each mobile device sends unique identification codes.

But how do customers feel about stores tracking them? Department store retailer Nordstrom last fall launched a program tracking customers’ movements in the store through Wi-Fi signals from smartphones. The retailer ended the program partially due to privacy complaints from customers, The New York Times article reports.

The key to customer buy-in when it comes to in-store tracking is that they need to see how it benefits them. Allowing customers the option of downloading a mobile app tied to a loyalty program is a good way to achieve that goal. The app would track customers as they shop in the store and gather data about their behavior. 

In turn, customers would receive more targeted deals and coupons. It’s not all that different from what’s happening with online retailers. E-commerce sites use cookies and other tools to track shoppers, which is how Amazon is able to recommend products based on previous purchases or items that consumers viewed.

For brick-and-mortar retailers, a retail ERP system that encompasses all the aspects of POS software would play a natural role in tracking in-store shoppers. Since a retail ERP system already knows what members of a retailer’s loyalty program have purchased, the next natural progression would be to track how long they spend in the store and perhaps even what products they’re looking at.

The fact is that many shoppers would appreciate coupons based on their interests; they just don’t want to be bombarded with hundreds of coupons for products they don’t care about. 

Source: The New York Times, July 2013