5 ways retailers can improve customer flow and increase sales using heat mapping

There’s a knowledge gap between a physical stores visits and sales, understanding a customer’s journey through your store provides insights into what, where, when and why it happened.

Sales staff engage with customers at varied locations within the store, however they are not monitoring exactly where customers did or didn't go.

Knowing which areas of the sales floor best catch a shopper's attention and which areas are overlooked is vital to store engagement and sales.

Be it online or physical world, understanding and managing traffic flow is important.

Visual heat maps are the answer allowing you to view visitor activity and trends throughout your store by day, period or campaign.

You're then able to make layout changes that reduce bottlenecks and improve flow to key areas.

You'll have noticed that your local supermarket has Milk and Bread towards the rear of the store. There are also many isles allowing for easy access along with purposefully placed upsell opportunities - This is not coincidental.

Having a clear view of in-store consumer behaviour is the key to understanding what the estimated 60%+ that visit and don't purchase are doing.

Advancements in technology have made it possible to report on your store activity just like a website. Here are five ways you can use heat maps to drive in-store engagement.

Engagement and dead zones

Through colour variations heat maps are able to show activity levels within specific areas. Higher activity represents increased engagement, while low to no activity can be a dead zone.

Understanding activity levels throughout your store will allow you to make layout, signage and product changes. In doing so you can better decide which areas/displays should be traffic or engagement based.

Staff placement

Store traffic allows you to refine staff and task scheduling, while heat mapping will help with placement. Placing staff in areas of higher activity will not only provide an increased understanding of why, but improve customer engagement, reduce frustrated customers leaving empty handed and in-turn increase sales.

Event and sales mapping

Understanding how much in-store traffic each location receives due to specific marketing and promotional activities is a great start.

Using heat mapping provides insights into engagement areas and enables you to better understand your audience and their triggers on a per campaign basis.

By understanding traffic, areas visited and total sales per campaign provides insights into how appealing and relevant the offer was to your targeted demographic.

Cross and upsell product placement

Understanding store areas and the order in which they were visited along with time spent in each creates opportunity.

Apart from improving flow, this information can be used to better place related product samples near a busy area, or create a new themed area based on common visitor paths.

A/B testing

Being able to test small changes in layout, product placement, messaging and then quickly view the results assists in ongoing evolution.

Testing different initiatives that create engagement and route traffic to specific areas will help keep your layouts relevant and inviting.

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