Counting the benefits of customer trends

shoppers on high street

For anyone in the retail sector, understanding your customer and their needs and habits is vital for success.

At Tensator Group, we do not believe in offering solutions just for the sake of it; they need to work for both the retailer and the customer.

Ipsos Retail Performance is one of the world’s leading retail consultancies specialising in footfall monitoring, shopper tracking and in-store behaviour. Obviously the team’s findings are always of great interest to us and help to compliment the work that Tensator Group does in terms of guiding the customer journey.

We invited Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, to give us an overview of how the sector is performing so far in 2015 and to explain why identifying trends is so important.

As a business, we monitor over 3.1 billion store visits per year, and have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands such as Hobbs and The Carphone Warehouse.

Our pioneering Retail Traffic Index (RTI) series takes statistics from 6,500 stores, to provide a comprehensive and accurate representation of retail in the UK across all sectors.

This year has started well for retailers, following a relatively mild winter, they have benefited from good weather conditions, as a lack of prolonged snow has not disrupted people’s shopping habits or their ability to get to the stores. Household spending levels are also at their highest level since 2010, which combined with strong consumer confidence, is putting traffic back on the high street.

Further to this, the ongoing successes of Black Friday and the usual January sales have seen retail growth across the board, resulting with the analysis of customer trends becoming more important than ever.

February marked a pivotal moment for retailers, as a stable precedent for upward growth was established following an increase in year-on-year footfall for the third consecutive month, something that has not occurred since 2007.

We have a very clear picture of retail footfall across the UK but, just like Tensator Group, we believe individual retailers need to spend time reviewing trends in their own stores too.

By knowing your busiest times, stores can schedule employees accordingly. Mirroring your staff-levels to reflect the expected footfall can prove beneficial and also save money. This will ultimately improve productivity and have a positive impact on conversion rates.

Analytics can also provide the perfect opportunity to compare your in-house marketing campaign to those of the wider retail market, allowing retailers a more in-depth measurement of success. Further to this, knowing the profile of those individuals shopping in store allows the client to measure, manage and improve footfall, conversion and sales.

Looking forward to the next six months, I believe that the health of the retail sector will continue to edge upwards. Negligible inflation together with strong employment and wage rise growth, should translate into small year-on-year gains continuing in footfall and sales over the coming months so long as householders don’t get spooked by politicians’ bluster.

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