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Customers continued from page 100


followed shoppers around stores and documented their behav- ior. By the 1980s, Underhill’s fi rm, Envirosell was using hid- den cameras to observe shopper habits.” Retailers nowadays don’t have to hide cameras, as many customers expect to see them in stores to monitor shoplifting. If retailers use the cameras to track how people move around, how long they stand in front of displays, and which products they pick up, it is an added bonus and profi t- able data for the store owner. Other technology perhaps


not as familiar to consumers is facial recognition software. Bloomberg.com notes, “The software doesn’t identify a per- son, but it would give retailers a better handle on customer demographics at specifi c stores and help them gear promotions to age and gender.” For instance, the data collected from such software has begun to refute conventional wisdom, such as the notion that retailers often put high-margin merchandise near the store entrance, be- lieving shoppers would more than likely take a look. Many do not. Another technology provid-


ing retailers knowledge about their browsing costumer base


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are heat maps. Bloomberg.com explains, “The data is presented in two ways: a ‘heat map’ that assigns colors to stores depend- ing on traffi c, and an ‘affi nity map’ that allows retailers to click on a store and determine the probability of a shopper who went there, visiting other stores in the mall.” While these maps are often applied to larger shopping venues such as malls and outlets, they could poten- tially be useful for in-store data research at smaller brick and mortars. The resulting data could help with product place- ment throughout the store. ■


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March 2012 101


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