Lolli and Pops, a candy retailer with a growing presence nationwide, is focused on driving customer delight.
The solution “allows me to be in all our stores every day,” noted Marc Schwarzbart, VP of Merchandising at Lolli and Pops. As part of his day-to-day obligations, Schwarzbart refers to video feeds to analyze customer shopping patterns, dwell times and each stores’ compliance with planograms and merchandise displays.
“I can very easily give feedback to stores or operations and buying teams to indicate what looks great in a specific store, what should be replicated across then chain or even what inventory may be in the wrong place,” said Schwarzbart in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Most of the time, I put the solution in privacy mode so I can remove consumers from the images and stare at the shelves, analyzing them from a merchandising standpoint.”
Images of stores also can be accessed from any device, which allows Schwarzbart and his Lolli and Pops team members to have anytime, anywhere access to stores.
“I no longer need to be in the office to look at footage,” Schwarzbart explained. “I can just look at my cell phone and it’s just as fast and simple as being in the office.”
Having real-time access to stores empowers Lolli and Pops to deliver on its promise of delighting each customer every time they enter a store.
“I only wish I could be in my stores more often,” Schwarzbart said. “With Prism, I can manage inventory centrally. Every retailer does that, but what the inventory looks like on paper and what it looks like in a store to a customer are two completely different things.
Previously, Lolli and Pops relied solely on traditional security cameras, which are limited in their capabilities.
“Like many retailers, we have security cameras and DVRs, but there are limitations, especially if we need to queue up the DVR to access old footage,” Schwarzbart said. “It could take several minutes to get that view and the footage could be slow and choppy.”
Because Schwarzbart can access store images quickly and easily, store managers no longer need to connect with him on daily calls to discuss store design, inventory management or even customer service.
“Instead of having the head of stores connect with managers every day on calls, we can give store managers and employees every possible moment to engage with customers,” Schwarzbart said. In some cases, Schwarzbart noted that he will use Prism to track the front of each store, where employees are encouraged to greet guests and hand out samples. “I will occasionally use the camera to look at the front door and make sure someone’s there. But if it’s exceptionally busy they will move away from there to help guests on the floor.”
Real-Time Access To Detailed Analytics
In order to determine the overall impact of merchandising displays and overall store layouts, Lolli and Pops taps Prism Analytics, which is designed to transform real-world patterns and trends into detailed reports and visual summaries of each store.
Heat mapping plays a key role in helping Schwarzbart evaluate what’s happening in each store, he noted. “The high level of analytics allows me to track the overall flow of traffic and understand which areas of the store are effective and which I need to better isolate and refine to improve the customer experience.”
For example, a specific product line was underperforming in a certain store, and there were many factors to consider, according to Schwarzbart. “Was it pricing, location or storytelling that was the issue?” he asked. “Most retailers have to get feedback from a store manager but then tend to just look at the numbers. We were able to use heat mapping on cameras and noticed that customers just weren’t congregating in that area of the store.”
When employees moved a table to alter the natural traffic flow within the store to help funnel customers to the other side of the room, Schwarzbart explained, “we immediately saw an uptick in sales for that product.”
Paired with traffic counting capabilities, the analytics provide Lolli and Pops a comprehensive view of store traffic on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis. This data allows the retailer to optimize employee scheduling and, in turn, the customer experience.
“Improving staffing is the most important benefit of the counting solution,” Schwarzbart said. “The benefit of having technology that counts more accurately is having a better view of traffic at any point in the day. I get a more accurate and detailed view of what time of day that traffic count is higher and then can make sure staff is there to create that delightful experience I’m striving for.”