Creating a feedback loop in retail

Posted by Ken Sobel on June 1, 2018

We all know how great products are born. A brand makes a prototype, launches the product, collects feedback from their customers, then repeats the process to improve the product.

Each repetition generates a new insight about how to make the product better. After many cycles and many rounds of feedback, the product becomes something great.

This feedback loop is commonplace in product development, but rare in retail. When a brand enters a retail store, success often hinges on a hope and a prayer. The problem stems from the reality that a retail placement can be a black box of information with little or no data shared about the products performance in the space. Brands aren’t able to understand how shoppers are responding to their merchandising and training strategies. Without that data, there’s no way to iterate, and in turn, there’s no way to achieve a great retail presence. This gap between the brand and customer is why retail stores feel so stale.

Does it have to be this way? What if stores were built to share shopper data with product makers? At b8ta, we believe makers should be positioned as close to their target customers as possible. The more information they have about the customer and their products’ performance in retail, the more effective they will be at leveling up their retail presence.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re selling a security camera with x-ray vision. Analytics indicate that foot traffic in front of your product is consistent with the average foot traffic for the product category. But relative to your competition, customers are 30% less likely to discuss your product with a retail associate.

This information initiates a feedback loop. Faced with the problem of 30% fewer conversations between customers and retail associates, you start to form hypotheses. Perhaps retail associates do not know how to pitch your product. You test your hypothesis by changing the training instructions, and in the following week you notice a 20% improvement. Still not in line with the category, but you are iterating in the right direction!

b8ta is designed for makers to run these types of experiments every day.

Our stores are packed with sensors and tools that monitor product performance. With more traditional retail this type of feedback typically requires paying for external surveys or in depth store analysis and long lead times to receive and react to your data. We share this data with product makers through an online dashboard, where they can adjust their showroom settings in real time. The result is a testing platform and learning mechanism for brands to better understand how their product performs in front of retail customers.

Access to excellent retail data will help close the gap between a product maker and their customer. With b8ta, a brand can impact the customer experience in real-time then access data to understand how that experience can be improved. This feedback loop is how retail needs to work in the 21st century and b8ta is ready to start providing the tools a brand needs to get there.



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