What is the best way to capture customer data in-store – Sherlock Holmes or with a small tin of paint?

In 2005, Google Analytics was born. The software was designed to let an online or e-commerce site learn all about their customers online journey. The service was so popular that Google had to adopt a lottery style invitation system until it could meet demand.

All of a sudden, businesses were provided with game changing data. They could understand every small aspect of a customer’s interaction with their website and perform marketing and customer experience interactions based on this data.

14 years later… physical venues are still data black holes. It is painfully obvious that this needs to change. For bricks and mortar to fight back, new and exciting technologies and ideas need to be implemented in-venue to narrow the gap between the wealth of analytics online and the paucity of data in venue.

Below are my thoughts on the five best ways to capture personal data in-store:

  1. Position a person at the door who does not let anyone into the venue until they have filled in a form asking several questions.
    • Pros – Captures a rich set of data that allows you to learn all about the person entering the store.
    • Cons – Stops nearly all customers from visiting ever again.
  2. Ask all people in-store to fill out a survey before you will serve them.
    • Pros – Ensures a good, deep level of data capture.
    • Cons – May cause severe queuing at the tills and possible conflict, especially on hot, busy days.
  3. Position a detective inside the store who takes a ‘best guess’ at customers age and gender and notes them on a sheet.
    • Pros – Less intrusive than the first two methods.
    • Cons – Loss of data as the detective has their lunch.
  4. Ask all customers to attach a small paint pot with a hole drilled in it to their belt. The use of different colored paint will allow you to track customer journeys around the store.
    • Pros – Help map out store ‘hot or not’ spots by analyzing the paint trails.
    • Cons – May damage customers footwear.
  5. Use your store WiFi to simply and effectively collect and report on a rich array of customer data, including: number of visitors, time of visit, type of device used, time spent on premises, a customer’s journey around the store, gender, age, email address and more.
    • Pros – Simple to enable using your existing infrastructure, low cost and virtually immediate ROI.
    • Cons – If you’re not doing this already then your competitors sure are.

As you will appreciate, points one to four were for comedy value but point five is available right now.

Help bricks and mortar fightback and enrich your CRM with the kind of data e-commerce sites have enjoyed for years. Get in touch to find out more.

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