Leveraging audience insights for better business decisions

Leveraging audience insights for better business decisions

The path to success begins with actionable data

Running a business without knowing what your customers want is like trying to find your way in a dark room without a flashlight – you’re lost! Understanding your audience is key to making smart decisions in your business. This is especially true for businesses like restaurants and retail stores, where customer visits matter a lot. That’s why many owners are now using tools to get insights into what their customers like and don’t like, helping them plan better for success.

What can audience insight tools tell you?

Audience insight tools help management teams gather valuable metrics so they can make better-informed decisions. They let businesses capture and analyze customer behavior information for planning and operational uses.

To deliver reliable information, audience insight tools need sophisticated software and powerful hardware devices.

Here’s a list of popular audience insight metrics:

  • Foot traffic: Counts the number of persons that are on-site at any given time.
  • Length of stay: Calculates how long people spend in a monitored area.
  • Time spent waiting: Calculates how long someone spends waiting for service.
  • Attention span: Detects when and how long a person is engaged with an object or advertisement.

It’s important to note the reports generated by audience insight tools can be flawed unless the data is processed and analyzed using software enhanced with AI.

Software solutions that use AI generate more accurate metrics that better reflect real-world activity. This means you can trust your audience’s insight reports to inform and guide future business decisions.

Audience conversions per age range

Making business decisions based on custom audience insights

Knowing what goes on in customers’ minds is the holy grail of retail management. By understanding what motivates shoppers and guests, businesses can adjust their offerings and optimize the customer experience.

Here are some of the benefits…

  • Increased return visits: Customers who receive better service are happier. These are the customers who will return again and again, improving the business’ bottom line.
  • Fewer product returns: Better-informed consumers tend to be more satisfied with their purchases. This means fewer product returns which leads to lower operating costs.
  • Bigger sales receipts: The longer shoppers and guests spend on-site, the more they will buy. There is a direct correlation between time spent on-site and the size of the sales receipts.
  • Greater popularity: Foot traffic metrics are a perfect indicator of a business’ appeal. The more visitors you get, the greater the potential revenue. The trick is to take advantage of good traffic statistics to generate more sales.

What makes a good audience insight platform?

When you combine multiple audience insight tools, you end up with a platform that can deliver in-depth and actionable business metrics. Every business activity can benefit from reliable audience insights. However, it won’t happen unless you have the right tools for the job.

Audience insight platforms require two components. There is the software that collects and processes the data, and the hardware needed to acquire it.

The hardware

Capturing audience insights requires an endpoint device (typically a PC, Android device, or System-on-Chip screen) connected to a digital camera. To be effective, each endpoint device must be networked to a physical or virtual computer-vision server.

The software

To handle the data collected by each endpoint device effectively, selecting the appropriate software is crucial. This task demands computer-vision software for analyzing visual data. Yet, it’s important to note that computer-vision solutions vary in quality. The most effective and precise ones incorporate AI to deliver superior outcomes.

Moreover, as audience insight platforms rely on camera technology, it’s vital to prioritize the public’s privacy concerns.

About privacy…

When using analytical tools that depend on camera technology to gather data, it’s crucial to ensure these tools are designed to protect privacy and avoid capturing or storing personal information. These tools, which employ computer-vision technology, must prioritize privacy in their design.

To grasp how computer-vision operates, let’s examine the data capture and analysis process:

Cameras placed in locations like retail stores, restaurants, and other areas with high foot traffic pick up shapes and movements as people pass by. The devices these cameras are connected to then analyze and categorize these video feeds in real-time, sending the data to a server.

Crucially, at this initial stage, the system should not store any personally identifiable information. Upholding privacy rights is essential, and any tool that doesn’t meet this standard is best avoided.

The software on the servers then processes this data, creating reports on audience insights. The top systems use AI to accurately analyze and provide real-time insights.

These insights often include metrics like:

  • Demographic profiles, such as gender and age range
  • Activity metrics, including how long people stay in the area, their field of view, attention span, and engagement levels

Be mindful that many countries have privacy laws that affect how these tools operate. It’s important to know and follow local regulations when using or implementing any audience insight technology.

Improve the audience’s experience

Advertising and brand managers can use audience analytics to improve audience engagement by determining how many times viewers have been exposed to content before they lose interest. Having the ability to switch content and deliver a more organic viewing experience helps keep the programming more interesting, which helps drive engagement throughout your campaign.

Visitor waiting time in line

How can audience insights help my business?

It’s all about knowing how your audience behaves and what they like. Once you understand these key factors, you can make better decisions.

Here are some scenarios where audience insights can play a positive role.

Out-of-Home ad campaigns

Cameras installed above digital signage screens can track the audience’s engagement and identify the most popular and effective ads. Audience insight tools can also perform more advanced analysis and even change the digital signage programming on the fly based on the audience. A retail store’s digital signage software connected to such a system could automatically adapt the content being shown to the profile of the person that is looking at the screen.

For example, the digital signage system can present different ads to male and female viewers, or to viewers of the same gender but of a different age.

Quick Service Restaurant drive-through menus

Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) are installing outdoor LED screens at their drive-through entrances to accommodate a growing customer base. The popularity of drive-through dining soared during the pandemic, prompting restaurant owners to heavily invest in technologies that streamline the ordering and meal pickup process. Consequently, drive-through menus have become more engaging than ever, featuring animated content and updates in real time.

In this context, gaining audience insights plays a crucial role.

Cameras installed near LED screens now capture data about each approaching vehicle. While basic systems use these cameras to count vehicles or customers, more sophisticated tools go a step further. They offer deeper insights, such as recommending menu items to returning customers, enhancing the customer experience even more.

Retail store layouts

High-traffic environments like retail stores can benefit greatly from audience insight reports. Strategically located cameras can detect shoppers’ traffic patterns within the store. Audience insight reports help identify “dead zones” so store management can take action. This information is invaluable to interior designers and merchandisers.

Audience insight reports can do much more:

  • Identify choke points that slowdown in-store customer traffic.
  • Highlight areas of interest where customers spend more time handling and inspecting products.
  • Point out the most used entrances and exits in very large stores.
  • Reveal the promotional areas that are the most popular with shoppers.

Human resource management

Monitoring shopper activity provides valuable insights into HR operations. For example, the “time spent waiting for service” metric reveals much about staffing adequacy and employee efficiency. Shoppers serviced quickly tend to have a positive view of the store, making them more likely to return.

Customer satisfaction often hinges on the management of checkout queues. Stores that effectively handle their checkouts typically receive higher customer ratings, underscoring the importance of efficient service in enhancing the shopping experience.