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David MorinRetail Analytics ExpertPrism
The rise of ecommerce has changed the game for brick-and-mortar retailers, but the internet of things (IoT) may restore some luster to physical stores. David Morin, retail analytics expert at in-store visualization technology provider Prism, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about some of the ways in which connected visual sensors and analytics tools can help marketers make the traditional shopping experience more appealing.
eMarketer: How does Prism bring the internet of things into the retail space?
David Morin: Prism uses a cloud-based service as well as in-store video cameras to anonymously monitor customer behavior inside stores, and then present that data in a variety of visualizations. We turn cameras into IoT sensors that monitor different aspects of the health and performance of retail stores.
eMarketer: Where is the retail industry in terms of internet of things adoption?
Morin: Online retailers like Amazon can now beat brick-and-mortar retailers on delivery and price, so there is a big pull from the industry to have a wider set of data and analytics tools that optimize performance in brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers are showing interest in innovating to level the playing field between the ecommerce world and the brick-and-mortar world. Bridging the gap between the two is Prism’s primary goal.
eMarketer: How can brands use Prism from a marketing perspective?
Morin: The cameras provide real-time access into stores, and from a marketing standpoint, it allows brands to do a couple of things visually. For example, we have the ability to create percentage-based arrows, which show the directional flow of customers at a given point in the store. Marketers can use visualizations to understand the impact of different promotional displays or promotional signage and get a sense of how that’s affecting customer behavior in the store.
eMarketer: What’s inhibiting broader adoption of visual sensors and analytics by retailers?
Morin: We are a B2B [business-to-business] company, but when consumers learn about our technology, there is a sense of “Big Brother” watching. However, one of Prism’s advantages is that we have the ability to anonymize all of our data, and we have the ability to remove people from the images that we produce in the app.
eMarketer: As the internet of things expands, how will the retail industry change?
Morin: There is so much opportunity for retailers to continuously monitor the health of their stores. As they do that, there will be more opportunities to make localized decisions, which is exciting from the consumer perspective. If we give retailers the ability to closely monitor each of their stores, it will give them the ability to make customizations and provide better experiences for customers.
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