Shelf management is a key challenge for retailers due to a great variety of products and changing buying behaviours. A proper management of shelf space allocation and product display helps retailers not only to increase their profit, but also to decrease cost. Since more and more vendors are targeting the same customer, they are motivated to optimise operations in order to run stores more efficiently.
Various software, analysis, algorithms and historic purchasing data are used to understand purchasing patterns in order to appropriately allocate products and shelf spaces and to improve customer satisfaction. Shelf management techniques such as "space-to-movement" and "product reorganization" have been developed to advance the art of product placement and to increase the retailers profitability. The firstly mentioned shelf placement method uses store movement patterns; the second one cross-category merchandising. Both techniques are aimed at improving shelf space allocation and product display, e.g. to determine which products should be displayed on which shelves to achieve the greatest value to customers and to maximize the stores profit.
Still, shelf space allocation and product display are not a perfect science, and many stores still rely on the sales experience of their managers rather than on advanced technologies and software tools. For instance, a great number of retailers still has test takers to find common traffic flows within the supermarket. The results from such trials together with historic data are the standard parameters to see if new store concepts and product placements are working in practise, e.g. by controlling related product sales. In an increasingly competitive market place, where supermarkets have to optimise profitability per square meter to survive, this approach lacks some fundamental metrics.
Retailers can get such additional insights by implementing advanced technologies such as Iris Eye Scan Module, Video Analytics and Beacons (to some extend). For instance, Iris Eye Scan Module (e.g. from SensoMotoric Instruments
) is used for eye tracking to create in store heat maps, e.g. to identify most viewed aisles and shelf positions to define space values. The larger the number of test takers, the more precise are the results of the study.
Face Analysis is another powerful technology to gain additional insights about in store consumer behaviours. Real-time data directly from the shelves such as the total number of visitors, their demographics and dwell and attention times can help Marketing teams to better market the supermarket's own store brands. Having a clear picture of "who" (type of consumer profile) is in front of the shelf allows Marketing experts to continuously adapt and improve the product communication and placement strategy. Customers will seamlessly benefit from this modern tool as they will find the products they are searching for in a quicker way. Customer satisfaction will increase as a consequence. Thanks to the rich in store consumer behaviour data available, the store's Marketing team can also develop effective cross-category merchandising.
Finally, the collected data can be used not only for the store's own internal business intelligence, but also sold to suppliers so that they can continuously improve their product marketing strategy. Product managers usually spend a lot of money in purchasing consumer behaviour data. By implementing Face Analysis, retailers are able to deliver relevant, regular and real-time data directly from the shelves within their supermarkets. The suppliers' marketing teams can thus even take into account peculiarities of different store locations, e.g. cities and districts.
To summarize the benefits of Face Analysis, among others the tool delivers answers to the following questions:
- How many people are in front of the shelf at the moment?
- How many people have been in front of the shelf during the last hour, day, week or month?
- What is the demographic segmentation of shoppers in front of the shelf (gender, age group, mood)?
- What is their average dwell and attention time?
- Are there any variations on different days?
- Does the Product Display strategy attract the defined target group or does the Marketing communication need to be adapted?
- What impact have different Shelf Space Allocation strategies and Product Display campaigns on various metrics such as average dwell and attention times of visitors?
Advanced Digital Solution delivers unobtrusive Face Analysis based Traffic and Audience Measurement (TAM) solutions that deliver retailers valuable real-time insights to perfectly support their Shelf Space Allocation and Product Displays strategies.
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