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PwC has completed a pilot programme monitoring customer spending habits in London’s West End to gain an insight into consumer behaviour.
The pilot, focused around the Bond Street area, used anonymised consumer data collected by Beyond Analysis to monitor consumer habits in retailers, hotels and restaurants, and employed data analytics to split customers into particular behavioural segments.
Data such as aggregated shopping spend, travel and mobile network data was used to analyse spending, where visitors originated and time spent in a location.
But Megan Higgins, director of customer and retail analytics at PwC, said that despite the rise of e-commerce, the high street still plays a huge part for retail in particular areas.
“In what is unquestionably a tough environment for the UK retail industry, it is more important than ever that retailers understand their customers’ wants and needs,” she said. “Those who want to succeed on the high street are looking to tap into data to help plan business decisions and drive a greater in-store experience.
“The data we are analysing is completely anonymised, but customers will ultimately benefit as retailers look to meet shopper expectations with a personalised experienced and targeted supply.”
PwC performed the pilot project for the New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in the West End area, including streets such as Oxford Street and Regent Street, and aims to increase spend on the high street over the new few years.
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The New West End Company hopes to increase spending in the area by one-third to £12bn over the next few years. It is responsible for providing its members with information about how the 200 million customers who visit the West End each year are behaving.
PwC’s analysis found that a majority of the spend in the high street came from domestic shoppers, with richer consumers in their 30s visiting the area the most often, and high numbers of visitors to the area doing so at meal times or to shop in the afternoon.
Offering customers a personalised experience is becoming a huge part of driving retail loyalty, and PwC’s research found that 36% of shoppers don’t mind if retailers monitor their shopping patterns, and 32% expect retailers to hold data about them to help target them with more accurate and relevant deals.
Eventually, PwC will provide a dashboard to cover the whole West End, helping retailers to make plans based on consumer behaviour.
To drive more people to physical stores, many experts believe retailers should focus on developing technology-led experiences in stores, giving customers a reason to visit.