5 Ways to Track In-Store Customer Behavior
There's a fine line between tracking the behaviors of customers in your brick-and-mortar store and spying on them. The technology discussed here uses data from customers' smartphones in conjunction with opt-in apps to offer patrons deals and show retailers what's happening in their stores.
Wed, July 31, 2013
Using a service from Euclid Analytics, Nordstrom was tracking the media access control (MAC) address of a smartphone to analyze customer behavior in the store. For example, the retailer can find out where in the store most customers linger or how often a phone user shops at a particular location. According to an ABC News report, customers were not happy about the privacy invasion.
Fortunately, there are less invasive ways to accomplish the same goals. The six technologies featured here do not track a specific customer or his purchases unless they opt-in to the service. In some cases, data is collected anonymously but isn't tied to a specific patron's MAC address.
1. Wi-Fi Fingerprinting: Track Strength of a Signal
This technique tracks the Wi-Fi signal strength of a smartphone or tablet in the store. One leader in Wi-Fi fingerprinting, Bellevue, Wash.-based Point Inside, offers the service through a store's branded app as part of an opt-in loyalty program. The Wi-Fi signal strength reveals where a customer goes in the store, which then helps a retailer develop product placement strategies.
2. MEMS: Create a Heat Map of Customer Activity
To provide more exact tracking, retailers can use the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) chip on a smartphone. MEMS data uses the accelerometer and gyroscope within a smartphone or tablet to show the exact angle, direction and position of the device. Point Inside already has the technology to read this data through an opt-in app, but this specific technique appeals to companies because it can create a precise heat map of how a customer has travelled through a store.