Blog: Trends, Tech, & Team

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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 indoo.rs, 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

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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.

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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.

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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 prismbeta@prism.com.

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.

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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.

Photos: Prism Holiday Party 2015!

Last week Prism held its annual holiday party at Prism HQ, and the team had a blast! In addition to delicious food, drink and a DJ that bumped the latest Justin Bieber jams late into the night, we were lucky to celebrate with colleagues from around the world — with folks flying in from as far away as London and Amsterdam to recognize another successful year of hard work!

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We have a lot to celebrate this year: exciting product milestones, rockstar new-hires, and last but not least — our CEO, Steve’s Birthday!

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To see more pictures from this year’s holiday party, check out the full album on Facebook!

Is Black Friday on the Black List?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means that holiday shopping is upon us. If last year’s numbers hold up this time around, over 140 million consumers will be lining up next Friday with deals in hand to take advantage of some of the best savings of the year. This is an image that that has become a staple of American consumerism, but as we move closer to a new year, it’s clear that the retail status quo is not what it used to be.

Just a few weeks back, China recognized “Singles Day,” a celebration for bachelors and bachelorettes that took the shape of over $9 billion in consumer sales, actually topping out over Black Friday. Singles Day’s success is proof that the rules of customer behavior are not fixed, and that it is possible for a manufactured holiday (and some really good marketing) to break records, and blow sales out of the water.

There is no doubt that Black Friday this year will continue to be a draw for customers, and remain a pivotal day for retailers — but if the idea of braving sub-zero conditions, full of undigested turkey and in pursuit of a heavily discounted flat screen TV is starting to feel stale — maybe that’s for good reason.

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Take the sporting goods retailer, REI, for example, which announced earlier this month that they would be forgoing Black Friday altogether so that employees could focus on getting outdoors, and spend time with their families. If we are to follow traditional retail logic, this might be considered “revenue-suicide” — but given the heavy media attention generated from the news, and a series of sales and promotions leading up to Thanksgiving week, we have a feeling that they might be onto something.

Likewise, marketers have gone back to the drawing board when it comes to big-ticket purchases like cars, as New Year’s Eve, NOT Black Friday, was the biggest day for automotive deals in 2014.

The 2015 holiday season is just that — a season — which means that consumers are growing less motivated by a single day of sales and shopping incentives, but more discerning when it comes to a positive shopping experience.

With this in mind, the pressure is on retailers to engage with customers, and deliver top-notch customer service in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and into the New Year!