Extraordinary innovation has completely transformed marketing over the last few decades. Driven by technology, everything from media planning and buying, to consumer purchase journeys, to the ways we engage audiences has come miles beyond what was possible just 20 years ago.

Of course, at the core of all this innovation is the internet. And what makes the web so quick to innovate is data. Analytics lets us see what works and what doesn’t at both micro and macro levels. We launch a new campaign or strategy, track the results, take what worked, and do more of it. Then, we do it all again, and again, and again. Until something entirely new comes to light.

It’s very much like the evolution of living organisms–genes mutating slowly over generations, the winning mutations going on for further success, and new species emerging from the process. Only it happens a million times faster. But that’s online where metrics are easy to capture. What about retail?

Traditionally, the two major retail metrics are foot traffic and sales. Pulling additional data from retail isn’t easy. One reason is that retailers don’t want to share everything they have. Another, is that capturing what shoppers do after walking into a store poses a significant challenge.

If only you could apply the web metrics model to retail. Then, you would see every product the customer looked at, touched, asked about, took a photo of, and so on. By comparison, today’s retail data feels dusty and useless.

This doesn’t mean foot traffic and sales data isn’t helpful. Combining the two metrics can give you a good sense of store-by-store or chain-by-chain conversion numbers. With sales data aggregators, like those provided by NPD, you also get a sense of your market share by retailer. All of this is useful for guiding your retail investment strategy. But where or how do you invest inside your store?

Current retail metrics won’t reveal which in-store marketing tactics will increase sales. So, retailers, it all depends on you. If you would share the more complex metrics you’re gathering, or commit to developing better metrics, the results would make for a significant advantage over the competition.

Why? Because you’ll empower your partners to sell more in your stores. And when your partners are making more money, so are you. If everyone in your stores is seeing increases in sales, then they will all be more willing to invest in helping you grow your market share. It’s time for retailers to bring the online approach into their stores.

At EFM, we work with some awesome brands in the retail space. But everyone still has a lot of questions we’d love to have answered by retail metrics. If we knew those answers, our clients would be much more inclined to invest in retail programs that work.

How long do customers spend with the different types of retail displays? Are customers who engage with a display more likely to buy the featured product? Are sales reps more likely to recommend products on display? If shoppers are uncertain, what motivates them to finally decide? What causes consumers to simply walk away? How many times do shoppers visit your store before making a purchase? You get the picture.

Online stores can easily answer all these questions, and that data drives powerful e-comm giants, like Amazon. Which retailers will become the Amazons of the Brick & Mortar space? Whoever it is, they’re going to win. And everyone, including our clients and ourselves, is going to love doing business with them.