We live in an age where a thriving economy is largely based on grabbing and holding the attention of the consumer. This is a process that involves the utilization of many modern tools, strategies, and resources. Long gone are the days when a shopkeeper could rely upon charm and good salesmanship alone. Nowadays, the art of selling has become far more intricate. To truly maximize the potential of any retail venture, you need as much help as you can to understand the way your customers think and what they do when visiting your shop. There are several ways to achieve this—heat maps being a particularly clever and effective method.
What Is A Heat Map?
Simply put, a heat map is an image that’s generated by technology to track customer movement and behavior within a store. Generally, “cool” areas are in green while “hot” areas are in red, similar to infrared imaging.
This technology allows store owners to see the way customers move, what they touch, which areas they avoid, and which areas they visit frequently.
Huge players in the retail game use heat maps for several purposes:
- To test marketing strategies
- To optimize shop layouts
- To determine the popularity of certain merchandise
- To figure out peak shopping hours
All this valuable information that would usually become
clear only through painstaking hours of professional market research is easily
accessible by using heat map technology.
Why Use Heat Map Technology?
Using heat maps allows for a more seamless integration of departments within retail. A store owner who knows how to read a heat map to glean all its pertinent information will be able to effectively strategize where to apply the focus of each department and how they can work together to achieve their ultimate goals.
By understanding the effectiveness of in-store marketing strategies and how they relate to sales, your team has a wealth of information. This information allows them to make better decisions about product layout, display, purchasing, staffing, and more.
For example, by determining which items are becoming lost in the shop’s flow or which products are less popular, a skilled retail team can make adjustments to the shop displays. Another thing they can do is move slower selling items closer to the checkout to encourage shoppers to pay more attention to them. They can also use more popular products to draw attention to otherwise ignored areas of the shop.
Another useful function of a heat map is the collection of foot traffic data. Using a heat map, a shop owner can gather precise data regarding the busiest and quietest times of the day, week, month, and year. This allows management to make informed decisions about staffing, volumes for purchasing, and promotions.
For instance, a skilled marketing strategist could
identify lulls in shopper activity and create promotions to encourage customers
to fill those gaps, consequently maximizing sales potential. Understanding
trends in foot traffic will ultimately save a savvy owner some money by helping
them apply their workforce when and where it’s most needed.
Using Heat Maps Effectively
While heat maps are ground-breaking and exceedingly useful tools for retailers, the technology involved doesn’t come cheap. Estimates put the cost of installation and subscription for heat map technology at roughly $1500 each. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have the funds available in your budget to use heat mapping effectively.
If you have multiple franchises, an effective strategy would be to invest in heat mapping technology for your busiest branch. By doing this, you can determine over a specified period of time how much it benefits your business in terms of sales and traffic.
You also want to make sure that you have the right people in your employ to make use of the data your new investment provides. Heat maps won’t help you if you don’t train your team to analyze retail data and use it to make intelligent and effective adjustments to your sales and marketing strategies.
Before investing in heat mapping technology, you need to
consider the limitations of the system as well as the advantages. While web
analytics provide incredibly specific data regarding customer demographic, heat
mapping can’t provide that kind of insight. It only tells you where your
customers go while in your shop, what they touch, and where they spend the most
time. It won’t provide you with detailed breakdowns regarding the age, race,
gender, interests, or purchasing habits of your customers.
How Flame Analytics Software Will Take Your Business to the Next Level
Flame Analytics endeavors to make the often costly and complex process of installing and utilizing heat mapping software as accessible as possible to retailers. By allowing you to connect the software to your in-store CCTV system, it cuts out the cost of investing in brand new hardware.
By making use of cloud storage technology, Flame Analytics gives you unrestricted access to live footage and data from anywhere in the world. The software is accessible from any device, be it a touch screen laptop, smartphone, or tablet. This way, you can be fully engaged in the running of your store while on the go.
Flame Analytics dedicates itself to bringing you useful
and relevant data that will help optimize your business. With this
revolutionary software, you’ll be able to manage your staff and enhance your
store’s performance with unprecedented precision.
Should I Invest in Heat Mapping Technology?
When considering signing up with a heat mapping service provider, it’s important to remember that you get out of it what you put in. While the data provided by this technology can be incredibly useful, it will only be worthwhile if you use it to implement new strategies. Data alone can’t increase the revenue of a business. It takes active participation on behalf of both management and floor staff.
Like any business tool, heat maps have the potential to revolutionize the way you run your store when they’re utilized correctly. In the hands of a dedicated and experienced business owner, heat maps can take an underperforming retail outlet or franchise and transform it into a profit-generating powerhouse.