What is heat mapping technology? The answer to this question is the basis from which brick-and-mortar store owners can encourage conversions. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a viable approach in making consumers out of passers-through, however, knowing the flow of traffic through your physical business can help you improve a person’s experience within your establishment. You see, a heat map is almost like a physical version of a website. Whenever the people coming into your business move from one area to the next, a heat map enables you to track their movements, sort of like watching them navigate from one webpage to the next, clicking from link to link, etc. The analytics of heat mapping are applied in much the same way as they would be on any given digital platform regarding your brand.
Gauging and accurately locating ‘dead zones’: This is pretty self-explanatory, however the importance of this aspect of heat mapping or kinetic maps, cannot be understated. By locating dead zones, you’re able to get an understanding of how certain areas of your business (displays or racks, for example) are working to engage peoples’ interest. Areas of high activity demonstrate interest and therefore tell you that peoples’ engagement with whatever you have in that area of your establishment, is drawing them there and keeping their attention. Areas of low activity, on the other hand, depict the opposite. Wherever noticeable dead zones occur, this minimal interest by the public, can be addressed and action taken to provide a solution that will improve traffic and customer interaction within that section. Additionally, in areas that seem to have a high level of activity, you’ll be able to monitor the length of time a person spends there and specifically target those spots or displays which are driving traffic places and those which are actively engaging that traffic. There’s a big different but they’re both key components in helping to make your business as successful as possible.
Measuring Interest in Seasonal Promotions: Now that you can locate and understand dead zones, you can work out where to place your promotional items or displays, because knowing which areas are attractive and why, can better help you to understand what changes need to be made and, the reason behind why people may be visiting certain areas of your business more than others (perhaps it was an ad online or in the paper). This way, you’ll have more data analytics to work with on other parts of your promotional campaigns – ‘did my ad appeal to people or not?’. It’s a really important question and heat mapping absolutely helps you answer it.
Understanding Peoples’ Movements in Store: While heat or kinetic maps can show density, they can also give you an idea of the path people are taking and based on that path, you might be able to glean valuable information on how best to reorganize your business and where to situate items. If people are moving, for example, in a craft store, from the fabric department, to needles and thread, you’ll likely be right in assuming they plan on sewing something. Once you have this information you can better nail down your promotional campaigns and possibly offer a coupon for certain sewing or fabric items that they might not otherwise have purchased, were it not for the discount on the item.
Spending Resources Wisely: Heat mapping can help you make your business more efficient. By being able to gauge areas of high activity, you may wish to station an extra employee or two in the vicinity to engage with the customers and better assist them. Additionally, it lets you know whether or not you may need to provide extra employees generally, i.e. adding a new team member, and this may prove an exceptionally beneficial business move – because no one likes to wait ages in line or not be able to find a store associate when they need one. By having help available, you are catering to the potential needs of a person and that in turn creates a positive customer experience which always leaves a good taste in a person’s mouth – and speaking of mouth, if your customers are happy, they’re more likely to partake in word-of-mouth advertising for you!
Better Implementation of A/B tests: Yes, you certainly can use the information gathered from heat or kinetic maps to run A/B tests and subsequently, problem solve and bring about necessary actionable solutions where it’s needed. The split testing can pinpoint which of two versions of a certain display works better, for example, and allow you compare a variable against a current control. The data collected from the information on heat mapping as far as A/B testing goes, should provide you with the ability to figure out what works in your store and what doesn’t.
In summary, a heat map is live data on the behavior of the people who patronize your business. They allow you to discern popular areas from less popular ones in store and track customer’s behavior during their time spent in your business. There is no guesswork involved in trying to work out what people want and provide that based on ‘trial and error’. Heat mapping can maximize efficiency and there are companies out there, like NRVE, that provide the software to gather the data and give you an in-depth analysis to help you understand your traffic, adjust your practices and hopefully, convert visitors to customers!