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A Data-Crunching Dream: Using IoT to Learn From Your Customers

While increasing footfall is a primary goal for mall operators, it is also important to make the most out of each visit beyond just increasing numbers.

The number of patrons that visit daily, their most frequented retail outlets, their average time spent in the mall – all this and more are valuable data. Data has always been an important commodity, but it’s especially crucial now.

IoT can play a role in collecting and leveraging data, and helping ensure the data is of sufficient volume, with high accuracy and quality.

Multiple means of data collection

In the past mall operators and retailers would rely on that unreliable source of data that is customer surveys.

Getting the customer to opt-in and fill out a survey is a challenge; getting accurate information from them is also tricky. There is no way to know that a customer filled in a form accurately or gave truthful information as it is difficult to incentivise them to do so. Even offering prizes or rewards does not guarantee the collection of meaningful data.

As mentioned in the last article, IoT offers a better alternative. With IoT, you will have the resources to collect data efficiently from patrons and in larger quantities.

IoT can be easily integrated at the POS and coordinated with other data collection points such as CCTV cameras.

Sensors can detect visits and, combined with other data collection points, can help in getting an accurate map of a customer’s behaviours from the moment they enter a store.

All this data can be connected unobtrusively without needing patron participation, which makes the process easier and save customers the hassle of filling in forms. In cases where data would still be needed from customers, the process could be made easier by using digital means for better storage as well as customer convenience.

Knowledge can also be gleaned from data on searches from digital directories, as it gives insight to what outlets get the most enquiries.

Studying customer behaviour

With the wealth of data procured, what then can be done with it? This will, of course, be the foundation for personalising the customer experience.

For instance, knowing your customer profile would let you send them personalised promotions that would not be seen as spam. Instead, such targeted marketing would be considered favourable and anticipating customer interest.

The data on customers can also be used to help win back customers who previously were frequent patrons. These could be reminders of mall events or targeted vouchers to encourage them to return as patrons.

Learning from retailers

Being able to use IoT to track important metrics helps mall operators maximise the usage of space, to help achieve both retail goals and adapt to customer trends.

Besides individual retailers learning more from their customer visits, mall operators can use the data to drive more visits as a whole. Thus, it would ensure that tenants would be happier in the long run as the data can benefit them all.

With IoT-procured data, insights into mall location could also be procured. For instance, traffic could be better analysed – perhaps a particular location that usually does well is seeing lower numbers because a pop-up store or floor exhibition is impeding footfall.

Having point-of-entry sensors as well as coordinated cameras would also be a more accurate way to assess, in real-time, the effectiveness of mall exhibitions and events.

Being able to monitor various events going on in a mall from a central location will help ensure quick responses to tenant and patron needs, while also collecting quality data to ensure the success of future events.

Data matters

Being able to procure quality data, in large quantities in a manner that is efficient while still being able to manage costs – that is what IoT offers.

With the insight the data brings, a mall and retailers can quickly keep up with customer trends and plan for the future more effectively.

Besides being a cost-effective means for data collection, IoT also fulfils an important role, which is security, which is what we’ll look at next.



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