If you are familiar with analytics you will know that the majority of the information used comes from the internet. Online it is easy to track where people go, what they do, what they like and what they think.
Trying to do this in a brick and mortar retail store on the other hand, is a much bigger challenge.
To many it seems like there is no way to do this, but we have seen through the use of new and old technology, that this is achievable.
One of the key ways to do this is through the use of wifi hotspots, which ping any smartphone and can know their location. As each smartphone has its own unique ping, it becomes possible to track where people move throughout a large or small area.
People do not even need to be connected to the wifi hotspot for this to work. From a study conducted by Xchanging where they gathered some very impressive information, only 3% of the phones that were used for the study were directly connected to the wifi networks.
This gives a very strong indication of how people walk through malls or shops, giving a measure of footfall and where people dwell. This means that window displays, particular promotions or the way that products are laid out can be assessed for popularity and effectiveness.
It is also possible to use more legacy hardware like CCTV. Through integrating this with facial recognition and sentiment analysis software, it is possible to read people’s facial reactions to analyze their thoughts on products or displays.
All of this combined with data from the tills about what is being bought could give a great source of data for retailers, retail unit owners and marketing professionals.
It would allow better displays to be created, more accuracy surrounding the footfall predictions for retail unit owners and show why some items are selling whilst others are not.
It is clearly a more complex system than collecting similar information online, but could have just as much impact on how shops are selling and the items being sold.
Perhaps this kind of analytics is more controversial than online analytics, simply because it feels more like real spying, but for companies who operate in brick and mortar stores, this information could be invaluable.