At this year’s Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) event DTLQC 2019, the theme focused on personalization in retail, and introduced the upcoming trends and lessons to learn in physical retail on ways to evolve the retail store to provide customers with more personal and emotional experiences.

eCommerce is still Second Best to the Physical Store

The rise of digital natives that provide customers with price-conscious products and unparalleled convenience has brought many physical retailers to believe that the physical store will be annihilated. However, it became clear during the panel Retail is Detail: The Era of Personalization with speaker Ron Johnson, who pioneered the concept of Apple’s retail store and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Enjoy, that physical stores have the upper hand as they can easily incorporate eCommerce into their offering, whereas digital natives that try to enter the physical retail space face more challenges due to their lack in experience and physical footprint. Moreover, physical stores are the primary way for brands to build direct relationships with customers and provide them with the emotional connections that they cannot experience online.

Transforming the Physical Store from a Point of Sale to a Point of experience

As discussed by Frederick LeCoq, Chief Marketing Officer at Golf Town, during his panel Build a Marketing Tech Stack that Powers Consumer Experience, eCommerce provides unparalleled convenience to customers, which has shifted the purpose of the physical store for customers from being a point of sales to a point of experience. This shift in the way customers use the physical store will influence how brands build their stores and will lead to a rise in experiential retail. Experiential stores enable customers to enter physical retail spaces that submerge them into a brand’s culture and provides them with a sense of belonging within the brand’s community.

You don’t need more data, you need smart data

The digital transformation occurring in retail has not only changed the way retailers interact with customers, but also how they measure their stores performance and the ROI of their in-store initiatives. With this digital transformation came an abundance of analytical tools that service providers have started to offer for the physical retail space, and retailers must now shift through this sea of new digital tools to find one that suits their specific needs and will provide them with the best return on time and investment.

Founder and Chief Technology Officer at C2RO, Dr. Soodeh Farokhi, spoke during her panel Let’s Get Phygital about how machine vision analytic tools that provide insights on customers’ in-store journey, such as C2RO Perceive™, are at the forefront of this digital transformation.

“It’s technological solutions like C2RO Perceive™ that answer the analytics blind spot in retail and provide retailers with an even playing field with digital natives that have tools, such as Google Analytics, to provide them with readily available insights on customers”, says Dr. Soodeh Farokhi, founder and Chief Technology Officer at C2RO.

With a clear visibility and understanding into customers’ in-store journey and the contextual factors that influence their purchasing decisions, physical retailers (brands, mall operators, department stores) can enhance the visitor experience, as well as link journeys to marketing and sales strategies in order to maximize the ROI of their initiatives.

The importance of Privacy by Design

With new technologies turning every digital and physical customer touchpoint into personal data, service providers have the responsibility of ensuring that the technological tools they develop and offer to retailers in no way violate customers’ anonymity and their right to be forgotten.

As stated by Charles Morgan during his panel When Information is Personalized so is the Risk, partner at McCarthy Tétrault and co-leader of the law firm’s Information Technology Law Group, “The safeguarding of private data should not be an afterthought but rather incorporated in the conception and design of a solution. If a company has not created the solution to respect data privacy regulations and protect customers from the start, then it will never be compliant to data privacy regulations.”

Giving a positive example of a company that incorporated the concept of Privacy by Design into their solution, Charles mentioned C2RO’s involvement in Ivanhoé Cambridge and Galilei’s pilot project that was conducted through the Retail Innovation Foundry (RIF) at a mall in Québec City. Morgan found it particularly interesting that by using C2RO’s machine vision analytics platform, C2RO Perceive™, retailers that participated in the pilot project were able to uncover in-depth and actionable insights on customers’ in-store journeys and the behaviors influencing purchasing decisions while protecting the anonymity of customers.

One notable customer success story is how using C2RO Perceive™ helped an eyewear retailer uncover that their target demographic represented their lowest store entry conversion rate. With this new insight, they were able to modify their in-store marketing strategy to better target women between the ages of 20 and 40 by showing a celebrity endorsed ad with similar traits as their target on their front window displays. Using this new strategy, the eyewear retailer saw a double in store entries from their target demographic, proving the effectiveness of their new strategy and providing them with a favorable ROI.

In addition to the company designing its solution to comply by design to existing and future data privacy regulations, C2RO has also been recognized by the media for its strategic move in appointing an external Data Protection Officer (DPO) based in Europe to ensure that C2RO Perceive™ is compliant with the most strict data privacy regulations in the world. The global machine vision platform has already been deployed across numerous European malls.

See you at Stores 2020!

C2RO would like to thank the Retail Council of Canada and especially Marc Fortin, President of RCC Quebec Retail Council of Canada, for the wonderful event. We look forward to seeing everyone again at Stores 2020 happening in Toronto, Canada between May 26 and 27!

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