Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The space is a medium, let's make that accountable!

I have worked for several years now at a product that is using videotracking technology to capture movement of people in spaces, such as stores or stations or events.. etcetera.
From 2003 to 2004 I conducted a pilot in a store in Roosendaal, Netherlands to explore the possibilities of videotracking to get information on behaviour of people. This resulted in developing 2 applications to generate keyfigures to look at behaviour...
near a screen, near an assortment, in a waiting line, on an airport... You name it. I condensed the information to media key figures such as OTS and Window of Opportunity.
It is a very intelligent product that is still very easy to work with and that can generate amazing results, especially for centrally organized organizations. Imagine we lifted turnover by up to 10% in some weeks in our pilot store. If you take that centrally and work through the adjustment in say all stores. Also if effects are not that strong overall, It may still very well turn a smile on your face. Because the measurement is continuously you can learn through time what has worked well and what did not and you can adjust seasonal products as they go. Off course you can also see effects of new products more timely and make adjustments right away. After a while it may even be possible to use the information in your storage policy and personell planning. It takes time to tell the story though and it takes even more time for most companies to do really new things. Working with this instrument forces you to take what happens on the floor into account strategically. But the pressure of needing a measure for the effects of narrowcasting, digital signage accelerates the need for information on what happens in spaces where these installations are installed. After all there are sometimes large investments involved that need a return. In order to calculate this, we need a measure of the effects. Not to forget we need a measure of the effects on screen level, if we want to attach a rating to the messages on screen. RetailTreks (that is the tradename of this product) is very well able to give you information on the effects of digital signage. In a store we can even look directly at the effects on category level. Did the message of a product result in more visits to the assortment? And after that, did the assortment visits generate more sales?... This first step is an important step to make by the way, only looking at sales uplift to see if digital signage is effective, may have you ending up working at a message that was effective in the first place, not getting the conversion went wrong on assortment level, and if you do not measure that you will not see the difference, turning on the wrong screw to get it better!)
And while you are looking at the effects of digital signage and can make up a rate card for third party advertisers, you may as well look at improving your total retailformula and take alongside the percentages of improvement you can make with that. It is what we say in Holland to catch two flies in one stroke.