Blog: Trends, Tech, & Team

The Brick and Mortar Experience: What Shoppers Value Most

It’s no secret that online shopping has exploded in the past few years. Shoppers have almost everything in the world available for purchase right at their fingertips. While some retailers scramble to increase their online offerings, other large retail companies who once operated solely on the web are taking their products to the streets. Amazon recently announced its plan to open nearly 400 new stores after trying out their first physical location in Seattle last year. It’s an interesting paradigm, highlighting the fact that brick-and-mortar shopping is still relevant and for many people, the preferred method of shopping. So what do customers value in the retail experience that can’t be fulfilled online?

Multi-sensory Interaction

Inside a store, retailers have the opportunity to share the full brand experience with their customers using every one of the human senses. An optimal layout will not only create a seamless shopping experience but a full immersion into a brand’s culture. From the moment a shopper walks into a store, they’re greeted with the sight (lighting, colors, layout), smell (scent of the store), and sound (music, chatter) associated with the brand. Shoppers can then examine and experience a product first-hand such as listening to the sound quality of a new speaker, trying on new shoes or sitting on prospective sofa. When these factors are collectively on point, retailers have the opportunity to generate not just a single sale but more importantly, loyal return customers.

Personal Attention

One irreplaceable aspect of shopping is face-to-face interaction between customers and sales associates. Shoppers value the expertise and tailored recommendations that a knowledgeable associate can provide especially when purchasing big ticket items such as a computer, jewelry or home appliances. In fact, a recent poll showed 90% of shoppers felt more likely to make a purchase after receiving help from an associate. While e-commerce sites have the ability to make general product recommendations based on customer browsing history and search behavior, physical interaction presents the opportunity for more relevant suggestions based on conversation and real-time feedback.

Instant Gratification

Many people consider spending time at the mall a fun activity with the possible reward of taking home a same-day purchase. For most people, the satisfaction received from an immediate purchase will always trump the delay that comes with delivery, even if it’s same day.

Playing up these points is advantageous for brick and mortar retailers. Lucky for them, innovation and emerging technology platforms like Prism are empowering retailers to gain insights and optimize their customer experience using data. The ability to track customers’ path to purchase and analytics tools once reserved for online retailers are now available for real-world businesses. As breakthrough technology becomes mainstream practice, brick and mortar retailers now have the opportunity to level the playing field and keep their business booming.

#RIC16 In a Nutshell


There’s no better time than spring in NYC, so I didn’t have to be convinced to head east for Retail Touchpoint’s Retail Innovation Conference. It was a productive and inspiring week full of brand success stories, industry insights and networking opportunities. Here are of some of the week’s biggest takeaways:

Omnichannel is more than just a buzzword.

When retailers started using the word “omnichannel” a couple years ago, it felt as though it wasn’t fully defined yet. Now in 2016, it’s clear that the industry has a much stronger understanding of what an omnichannel strategy means. One presenter at RIC suggested that only 15% of retailers are fully equipped with the technology needed to fully implement a seamless, end-to-end experience — while a much larger percentage of retailers are working toward executing omnichannel strategies.

Retailer Alton Lane surprised attendees with their own take on omnichannel – using a converted Airstream trailer to take retail stores directly to customers’ front yards!

Stores are the new… Stores

For years, we have been hearing cries about the death of brick-and-mortar retail. At Prism, we have always known this was false, and that optimizing and improving the physical space is critical. Now there is hard data to support the continued importance of brick-and-mortar retail stores. While e-commerce is certainly growing at a fast rate, Maureen Mullen of the L2 Digital Think Tank provided several stories about pure ecommerce brands such as Warby Parker and Bonobos. These retailers saw significant growth in revenue after they opened physical stores. Mullen also shared examples of traditional physical retailers, such as American Eagle, who experienced financial recovery after deploying omnichannel solutions like “order online, pickup in store”. Throughout the entire conference, the message was clear: Retail stores are both a crucial piece of a brand’s identity, while also becoming a new type of “distribution” center. Physical stores are necessary tools in a retailer’s path to profitability.

Act Small

One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to start-up retail brands such as Shoes of Prey, Mizzen and Main and AdoreMe share their success stories. Across all these brands, there was one common theme – they all felt they were able to find success quickly because they didn’t have to hold themselves to the same process as large and experienced retailers. Instead, being forced to find innovative ways to market on a budget through brand advocates, cut on production costs by repurposing existing equipment, and going against other long-held industry principles allowed them to grow organically while remaining nimble. Of course, not all brands will be able to find success this exact way, but I think the key takeaway is to not be afraid to do things a little bit differently.

After the close of the show, Prism headed over to our long-time partner, STORY, where we hosted a cocktail reception for the conference’s guests. The space’s dynamic and innovative design provided the perfect backdrop for showcasing Prism’s capabilities.

And to nobody’s surprise, the bar area proved to be the hottest spot of the store that evening.

Cheers to another thought-provoking Retail Innovation Conference! Can’t wait for next year.

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Measuring a “Retail Revolution”

Retail Revolution

Business Insider’s research arm, Business Intelligence, recently published a presentation that highlights five top digital trends for 2016. In it, they identify the Internet of Things as the next industrial revolution of our era. According to the BI’s research, B2B investment in IoT solutions is slated to grow to more than $3 trillion over the next five years, and touch virtually every industry from oil and gas to healthcare, manufacturing, insurance and of course — retail.

We’ve been watching from the trenches as IoT has trickled into mainstream retail, and evolved to become not only a competitive advantage — but also the backbone behind many daily operations.

The presentation calls out beacons as an emerging IoT technology that’s gaining traction with retailers; however, beacons represent only a segment of Internet of Things technologies that are being implemented by brick-and-mortar businesses. When gauging the total role that IoT plays for retail (or any other industry), it’s necessary to inventory all of the connected devices that are gathering data and contributing to a better in-store experience.

In many cases, these technologies may have been sitting in our favorite shops since before IoT became a buzzword – and with the adoption of new products and technologies, they are now coming together to form the IoT networks that we see today.

It’s at the core of what we do here at Prism: Taking video cameras that tend to hang dormant from the ceiling to dissuade potential shoplifters, and through cloud-based software, turning these devices into a privacy-protected platform for the gathering and analysis of customer behavior and product engagement.

The true potential of the Internet of Things does not reside within a single device or innovation, but in the collaborative power of multiple solutions that come together to solve big problems and shed light on complex situations.

It’s easy to imagine how with a solution like Prism, where users have the ability to pinpoint the level of interaction received by specific products, and then compare across all merchandise within a store – that opportunities can be identified to improve the accessibility of different items. However, when Prism data is positioned alongside other data — like point of sale — entirely new details emerge that reveal more than just what people are engaging with, but why they are making the purchasing decisions that they choose to make.

For retailers, these networks of devices mean a better understanding of customers, staff and the activity that takes place within stores — which translates to insights around customer behavior, finding opportunities for greater efficiency, and ultimately creating a better brand experience.

While IoT will no doubt drive billions of dollars in retail sales through more targeted marketing and efficient operations, the true value of this technology trend will ultimately be evaluated by the problems that have been solved and the businesses that have found success by fully tapping into their data.

RILA Wrap-Up: Awards and an Announcement!

Howdy y’all! It’s been a wild week at Prism, with a lot of action happening down south at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Asset Protect conference in Dallas, Texas. We had a blast at the show, and had a great time showing off Prism to all of the retailers that came to learn about what’s at the forefront of asset protection technology.

Feedback from the crowd was great — we even generated some applause when we took third place in the Retail AP Innovation Awards. The competition was stiff: a panel of top retail executives recognized just three companies out of a list of eleven finalists.

RILA Award

We also made some news of our own with the announcement about our latest partnership with Axis Communications, which brings the Prism platform directly to their newest line of M30 cameras. This collaboration is a big deal for retailers, as it creates an out-of-the-box solution for analytics and remote visual access that’s tailored directly to visual merchandisers, operations and asset protection professionals.

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As part of this partnership, we’re also rolling out lightweight remote visual access capabilities to existing Axis cameras that leverage ARTPEC processors. This will unlock a powerful visual merchandising tool for retailers that are already using many late-model Axis cameras.

Stay tuned for next week’s update, as we will be heading to New York to attend the Edison Awards Gala, where Prism has been nominated as an innovative service in the “Market Analytics” category.

Announcing: Prism’s New Reports Feature


You asked for more flexible reporting tools, and we listened. The new Reports feature is now live, enabling total customization.

Create any combination set of Sites, Areas, and Metrics to get exactly the data you need — whether you want entry counting, area counting, occupancy metrics, or dwell reports. The parameters are limitless: There are no bounds on region, state, site, or zones that you can select or combine. Additionally, every report can be set up as recurring, with automatic notifications delivered straight to your inbox when a new data series is available.


The new reports are a significant overhaul of how we handle data and how our users can access it. With this release, we’ve launched a more robust, rich data series format for our metrics. You can now immediately get the numbers you’re interested in and download the series as a CSV file — but don’t worry! We’ve also kept our timecards and trend graphs for our users who prefer a visual component with their data. Custom Reports will soon support third-party data integration from POS to loyalty program metrics as well.

Lastly, you’ll be glad to know that we still ensure our customers own and control their data. The new Reports feature comes as part of the advanced analytics package, and there’s no additional per-report or licensing fee. Make as many as you need, and make them as customized as you want.


We’re looking forward to seeing our customers get the insights, metrics, and flexibility they need with Custom Reports. These versatile reports are now live, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

The Edison Awards: Prism Nominated as Finalist

edison awards logo

We’re happy to announce that we’ve been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Edison Awards! The distinguished awards, inspired by Thomas Edison’s persistence and inventiveness, recognize innovation and creativity from the most outstanding companies across the globe.

“It’s exciting to see companies like Prism continuing Thomas Edison’s legacy of challenging conventional thinking,” said Frank Bonafilia, Edison Awards’ executive director. “Edison Awards recognizes the game-changing products and services, and the teams that brought them to consumers.”

Edison Award nominees are judged by more than 3,000 senior business executives and academics from across the nation, whose votes acknowledge the finalists’ success in meeting the award’s stringent criteria of quality. Past winners include, Motorola, Ralph Lauren, and NVIDIA.

We’ll be attending the awards ceremony in New York City on April 16th, at the historic Ballroom of the Capitale. Reach out to meet up while we’re in town!

Drum Roll Please: Introducing the New Prism Insights Mobile App

Prism Insights 3 screens JPEG

Last week Prism had a blast at the NRF BIG Show where we shared our platform with global retailers and exhibited alongside some of the hottest technology providers in the space. The reception was phenomenal, and we had a great time connecting with customers and partners that we don’t get to see everyday.

While at the show, we gave attendees a sneak preview of the latest addition to the Prism lineup: The Insights mobile app, which will be available very soon for iOS and Android devices.

The Insights app brings the power of our web app into a beautiful, easy-to-navigate mobile interface — which means data-driven decision making, anywhere and anytime.

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Interested in seeing how a store location has been performing this week? How does that compare to last week? The Analytics tab within the app brings performance metrics to your fingertips, and allows effortless comparison across your different locations.


Whether you’re checking the rollout of a recent product launch, or simply want to ensure that merchandise is being re-stocked in a timely manner, the ability to see into your stores can be essential to maintaining smooth operations. The Cameras tab within insights provides an immediate view into what’s happening inside your stores, down to each lens.


With the Visual Insights tab, users have immediate access to traffic, heatmap and pathmap visualizations. For managers overseeing an individual store or an entire region, Visual Insights can help to quickly gauge the effectiveness of layout or merchandising changes, and instantly identify opportunities for improvement.

If you’re interested in joining our Beta program and getting a first look at new features and tools like the Insights app, send a note to

Brick-and-Mortar + Big Data: Resolutions Worth Keeping in 2016

It’s a new year, full of new possibilities — and potential pitfalls — for brick-and-mortar businesses. So to help you get started on the right foot, we’ve pinpointed a few key ideas around big data and retail that you can look forward to using in 2016.


1. Leave old strategies behind

Everyone knows that the holiday season is huge for retail sales, and when it’s over, it’s time for another block-buster end-of-season sale, right? Not true, actually! Promotion rollouts based strictly on product demand analytics beat traditional end-of-season sales 90% of the time. This case illustrates an underlying shift in how stores need to do business in the coming year: reactively, adaptively, and intelligently. Big data will continue to be a key resource in enabling retailers to make that strategic shift.

2. Having data is only half the battle

The other half is using it. A 2014 RetailWire study found that there is a direct connection between monitoring the impact of shopper insights and a positive ROI: Big data may be a powerful tool, but it’s worthless if it doesn’t get used. Plus, the full range of positive impacts those analytics can have on businesses are still emerging — and the best way to find out what they’ll be is to make sure you’re utilizing and monitoring your big data resources.

3. Stay two steps ahead

Gartner estimates that by next year, 70% of the most profitable businesses will rely on predictive big data analytics. Will yours be one of them? Whether you’re using analytic insights to optimize your visual merchandising, your staffing, or even your supply chain, big data will be key to ensuring you stay ahead of the curve and improve your bottom line.

4. Turn your unknowns into ROI

Point of Sale data, digital campaign email open rates, and mobile device sales can all be tracked, but what about things that are less tangible, like product engagement? With new tools like video-based activity metrics, big data analytics are bringing actionable insights to even the most abstract parts of the customer journey. 2016 is the year for brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of these new tools to improve their bottom line.

This year will undoubtedly see a lot more developments and surprises in the world of retail analytics and brick-and-mortar insights, but every retailer can get off to a great start by making sure that they are taking full advantage of the big data resources at their disposal.