Why retail analytics is not all about camera-based data

Why retail analytics is not all about camera-based data
Retail analytics are becoming increasingly common with several large companies and startups coming up with innovative solutions that will help shop owners improve their businesses. However, for the most part, these analytic solutions rely a lot on cameras for collecting data and examining them. While the value of video-based data cannot be denied, they do come with disadvantages such as the cost and difficulty associated with setting them up.

This is where the San Francisco, California-based Dor Technologies offers a solution. The company offers an affordable, easy-to-install and intuitive foot traffic counter for retail stores. Store owners and managers can access their daily foot traffic data on their mobile phones or desktops, sharing that info with their team with role-based access.

Speaking to asmag.com, Michael Brand, CEO of Dor Technologies explained how the company’s solution stands out from the rest in the market. Right now, the market is dominated by products that are camera-based and require a professional installation. Cameras are expensive and difficult to configure.

“The install process just hikes the price up well beyond what any independent retailer can reasonably afford, and causes enterprise retailers to struggle with deploying traffic counters across their organization in a timely manner,” Brand said. “Since Dor is the only solution that is battery-powered and self-installed, we’re able to cut costs by a factor of 10, and installation time is just five minutes, as opposed to 1-2 months.”

Algorithm is the secret sauce

Dor uses proprietary low-power thermal detection in its sensors and machine learning algorithms stored internally in its servers, ensuring industry-leading accuracy with zero maintenance for the retailer.

“Our “secret sauce” is our algorithm,” Brand said. “Every Dor device in the field “learns” from each other, and all of our sensors also have the ability to reprogram themselves. When you install Dor in your store, you’re installing a fully self-contained, accurate people counting system that will actually get even smarter over time. We’re really proud of that.”

 “Every Dor device in the field “learns” from each other, and all of our sensors also have the ability to reprogram themselves.”

The nature in which Dor operates helps it remain secure from malicious hacker attacks too. According to Brand, the company’s entire system operates on a private cellular network through VPN. Using this system means that all the data is encrypted down to the sensor level and any external access to its network is rejected.

“Since we operate outside our customers’ networks, it’s nearly impossible for anyone other than Dor to access the data,” Brand said. “This cellular network also means that Dor doesn’t need to be hard-wired into stores. Beyond the security of Dor, operating on our own fully secured cellular network has the added benefit of eliminating the need for lengthy and expensive network security studies that retailers often face when considering camera-based solutions. This further reduces Dor’s cost and deployment time.”

Enabling brick-and-mortar stores with data

Traditionally, brick-and-mortar stores have operated without much feedback on their performance. This has been a major weakness in their business model. But with the arrival of online stores, it became clear that right insights into the buying habits and customer behavior would go a long way in helping to boost retail bottom lines.

“In our own exploration, we’ve found that brick-and-mortar retailers have operated with very little data about how well their stores work, other than tracking daily revenue numbers,” Brand said. “Tracking customer counts and conversion rates aren’t the norm. It’s not the fault of retailers; they know how important understanding their customer traffic is to their business success. However, the expense and difficulties in scaling previous solutions have had meant retailers didn’t really have a suitable option until Dor. This lack of data is in stark contrast to e-commerce businesses that have to be driven by data every second in order to succeed. As we see more and more traditional retailers taking an omnichannel approach, we are perfectly situated to support brick-and-mortar retailers who want to combine both online and in-store customer data to grow their companies.”

Evidently, customers have been extremely appreciative of Dor’s solutions. The company has been experiencing over 50 percent month-on-month growth. Many of its customers have used the insights they’ve gained from the data to make large operational changes, helping them increase revenue and margins.

“One of our earliest customers has seen a 30 percent increase in revenue from staffing optimization alone,” Brand said. “We’re excited to continue to grow and serve the retail community with a foot traffic counting solution that works at their scale.”

Analytic revolution to take over retail?

“In-store analytics is the most powerful metric that allows a brick-and-mortar retailer to maximize their growth, full stop,” Brand said. “Plenty of legacy retailers have worked to deploy new tech effectively to bridge the gap between their physical and online stores, and we enjoy supporting them as they evolve. However, though there’s a lot of negative talk in the industry about retail “dying” or being “under attack,” that’s not our view.”

He added that at Dor, what they are seeing is a groundswell of newer retailers who are keyed into providing a truly unique and personal experience for their customers. These retailers aren’t in need of a revolution — they’re leading it. The so-called retail revolution is only what it’s always been: serving customers excellently. Having store traffic data just helps a brick-and-mortar retailer save money while they do that.
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