5 Minutes With Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant (EMEA), ShopperTrak

Tell me about your role and responsibilities?

I work as a consultant for ShopperTrak across various projects. These can vary from creating bespoke benchmarking reports for a property client to delivering a proof of concept on new technologies for a retail client, and lots of things in between!

What do you enjoy most about it?

Well no two days are the same! I work with a great team spread across the globe and get to travel quite a lot too, which I enjoy – mostly!

I also work with some amazing clients, from small chains to global market leaders. It’s fascinating sometimes seeing how different brands’ cultures and working environments differ. But they’re all mostly trying to do the same thing, and we can help with that.

What do you, and ShopperTrak do to help retailers?

Well at the top level, we help retailers deliver exceptional customer experiences and increase operational efficiencies. We do that through harnessing data, and delivering insights such as store Power Hours and optimal shopper-to-associate ratio, that enable real business impact.

In the property and place making sector, we also help our clients understand what’s happening in the retail landscape. Are their actions making a difference, and what is happening in rest of the market? These are some key areas we can help with.

And what does that look like in practice?

Retailers now know more than ever, that they have to really understand their customers. Consumers are in the driving seat. If you don’t get to know your customers, and meet their needs, you’re in for a tough time.

First and foremost, you need to understand the opportunities you have in your business. That starts by knowing how many people have visited your stores or places. Beyond that, you can look at the customers’ journey, where are they going, what do they like, where are the pain points and so on.

We help our clients utilise data to answers many of these questions. Sometimes we’re answering questions that we (and our clients) didn’t even know were being asked at the beginning!

How do you differentiate yourselves from the competition?

Our professional services team is our not-so-secret magic ingredient! That’s made up of customer success managers and the consulting team.

Our customer success managers (CSMs) are there to help our clients get the most out of their data on a day to day basis. They’re the first port of call, and every client has one personally assigned. They’re invaluable.

The consulting team do the projects that need further support, and are sometimes outside the ‘norm’. That could be helping with new pilots, new technology proof of concepts or bespoke work around our Market Intelligence tool and reports.

Tell me about the Market Intelligence tool? What is it, and how does it work?

The Market Intelligence tool gives incredible insights into shopper traffic trends. We’re fortunate to have the largest global data lake in the market, and this really puts it to use. Subscribing customers can view markets across the world through our analytics web portal, and select custom compare periods, geographies and sectors. It’s been available for almost a year now, and many of our customers are putting it to great use.

Typical application include strategic planning and forecasting, and also estate management as it can give clients insight into places they don’t currently have a presence. Retailers face various challenges at the moment, and being able to benchmark against everyone else can help give real context to performance.

We also have sector specific market reports too, on various sectors such as Apparel, Health & Beauty, Telecoms, Footwear, Luxury Retail and so on. And these are all free to download!

Tell me a bit about your background?

Well I did a degree in Electronic Engineering, so I’m naturally drawn to techie stuff. I’m a shameless geek. As soon as I graduated, I moved to England’s Silicon Valley to get a high-flying job in programming; but while looking for that, I got a job in retail to pay the rent and the rest is history! That sales role became a store manager role, and that store manager role became regional role, and so on! After many years in retail, up to board level I then started consulting, and eventually came to ShopperTrak.

Has that retail experience helped you in the role you’re in now?

100%, yes. Most of the consulting team have worked in retail, and done the hard yards. That’s another part of what makes us unique! We know how much hard work is involved in retail. We know the value of good labour and how much it costs to be over staffed and under staffed. We’ve been there. Despite my job title, I’m still a retailer at heart. I’ve been known to recover shelves as I buy, and mystery shop with every purchase!

Sometimes my role is like a bridge between the client and our data scientists. Our clients know their business best, and we’d never try to say otherwise. And we know traffic and customer behaviour data, probably better than anyone else too. My retail background enables me to take our data driven insights and learnings and deliver them to the client in a way that’s meaningful, and can be actioned on to make a difference. We don’t just present a dump of data as an “answer”. That’s easy to do, but not very helpful.

So, what role does ShopperTrak have in the future of retail?

Well, we’re now part of Sensormatic Solutions, which also covers loss prevention and inventory intelligence business. As we all work closer and deliver more projects that span all three areas, the insights and potential for the future is immense. This pretty much covers everything there is on the entire customer journey. This is just the beginning… exciting times ahead!

For more details on ShopperTrak, visit: https://uk.shoppertrak.com/

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