The Journey of The Retail Analytics Evolution

Retail Journey Blog Post

From humble beginnings with barcodes and manual people counting in the 1970s to the promising advancements of AI in the 2020s, the journey of retail analytics has been both transformative and challenging. In this blog post, let’s explore the milestones that have shaped the retail analytics landscape and how Respory is contributing to this ever-evolving narrative.

The Early Days: Barcodes and People Counting

In the 1970s, the retail world saw the advent of barcodes, revolutionizing inventory management and streamlining product tracking. Concurrently, employees manually counted people at entrances and exits, offering a basic understanding of customer foot traffic. However, this method proved to be inaccurate and limited to the store’s periphery, leaving the interior largely uncharted.

The Internet Era: E-Commerce and Online Tracking

Fast forward to the 1990s, and the rise of the internet introduced a new dimension to tracking with the onset of e-commerce. Online stores utilized cookie tracking to provide personalized offers and experiences for customers. However, brick-and-mortar retailers lagged behind, struggling to adapt these technologies to their physical spaces.

Advancements in the 2010s: WiFi, GPS, BLE, and 3D Cameras

The 2010s brought new hope with WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth-Low-Energy beacon tracking devices offering more in-depth in-store analysis. While an improvement, these technologies still faced challenges, providing accuracy only to sections of the store rather than precise locations. The development of 3D cameras promised demographic data and enhanced tracking but encountered hurdles related to GDPR compliance and cost.

The Turning Point of the 2020s: The Impact of COVID-19 and AI

The onset of the 2020s brought an unexpected global shift as the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the vulnerabilities of traditional retail. E-commerce demonstrated its immense potential, highlighting the need for robust in-store analytics to compete in an increasingly digital landscape. With artificial intelligence being as prevalent as ever, it became even more crucial to build relevant data sets from daily operations in order to take advantage of the potential of machine learning models and other artificial intelligence tools to enhance practices such as capacity forecasting or employee planning.

Unlocking the Power of Movement Data with Respory

As the demand for advanced analytics grew, Respory introduced a fully GDPR-compliant, inch-accurate, and cost-efficient novel technology. Our solution supports extensive rollouts throughout stores, gathering precise customer movement data to empower retailers to make informed decisions, enhance customer experiences, and optimize operational efficiencies.

The journey of retail analytics has been one of continuous innovation, with each era presenting its unique challenges and opportunities. As Respory embraces the future, we remain committed to revolutionizing retail analytics, providing retailers with the tools they need to thrive in the dynamic landscape of the 21st century.

CEO of Respory and avid fan of visiting supermarkets when on holiday.

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