Fujitsu has released an updated version of its in-store analytics platform, Retail Engagement Analytics (REA), which the company hopes will further add to its customers’ abilities to make real-time decisions on their operations.

REA 2.0 uses RFID and IoT technologies to capture, monitor and analyse real-time customer behaviour, and allows retailers to effectively manage staff allocation, store layout, product placement and checkout queue traffic levels.

Unveiled at the US National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City this week, the latest version of the platform builds upon the initial release by providing the following new features:

  • Real-time monitoring, offering retailers the ability to make immediate decisions to improve the shopping experience in real-time, such as adding staff to high traffic areas or stock replenishment
  • Video analytics, using surveillance systems to provide insights into customer behaviour in-store
  • Queue management, monitoring queue length and wait times
  • Store comparison, comparing store performance and effectiveness of new merchandising and layout changes
  • Alerting and task assignment, improving alerts and staff task allocation capabilities to convert real-time insight into action.

The platform leverages Fujitsu’s Flow Discovery technology. An extension to its Automated Process Discovery (APD) tech, it allows for shoppers to be tracked throughout the store from multiple data sources, rendering their routes in real-time.

This allows for multiple metrics to be captured and analysed, such as number of visits per period, zonal volume of visitors, traffic flow through the retail space, number of repeat visitors, dwell time (how long a customer stays in an area of the store) and sales department conversions.

Marc Janssens, executive VP of retail at Fujitsu America, said in a statement: “Our society has become increasingly digital, so it is imperative for brick-and-mortar retailers to become ‘connected retailers’”.

“By changing the way they see their customers and utilising the real-time insights from the Fujitsu REA 2.0 solution, retailers can provide a better in-store shopping experience, while optimising their stores and driving sales.”

The updated platform will be made available to North American customers from Q1 2017, with other regions expected to follow throughout the year.

Frustration grows with in-store shopping

The launch of the update comes just days after digital consultancy firm Capgemini released its report ‘Making the Digital Connection: Why Physical Retail Stores Need a Reboot’.

Conducted by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute, the study polled 6000 consumers and 500 retail executives from nine countries (United States, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden), and found that shoppers are becoming increasingly frustrated with in-store shopping experiences that don’t keep pace with developments with – and are disconnected from – the online experience.

According to the report, 71 percent of shoppers found it difficult to compare products in-store, 65 percent believed the in-store promotions received are irrelevant, and 65 percent simply couldn’t locate the product they required.

Mike Petevinos, global head of consumer products and retail at Capgemini Consulting, said: “Shoppers are increasingly disconnected with the in-store experience, and it’s easy to see why.”

“Most physical shops remain stubbornly ‘offline’, unable to offer the speed, flexibility and sheer ease of use that consumers take for granted on websites.”

Capgemini’s consumer goods and retail lead for its insights and data global practice, Kees Jacobs, added: “The industry is going to see a fascinating struggle take place in the next few years to decide what exactly the new breed of retail store looks like.”

“The battle to create the modern retail experience - between traditional retailers with a long, successful history of high street store building, and new digital entrants built around the Internet and mobile technology – is finely poised.”