Even a few years before, retailers were facing a tough challenge when it came to analyzing customer store insight. To capture a better view of customer in-store behavior, several tracking technologies are being adopted by the retailers. This allows retailers to understand the traffic pattern into their store, empower in-store marketing, schedule store operation, manage rush, and measure conversion depending on the store demand.
Tracking footfall is the new retail trend. Behavioral Analytics, In-Store Analytics, Location Analytics are attributed to activities inside the retail store. Several tracking technologies are in the queue that includes Monocular (Single Lens) and 3D Stereo, Video, BLE beacons, Thermal Imaging, Infrared Beams, Wi-Fi Tracking, and the nascent Spatial Learning for tracking customers and get a better store insight. Each technology comes with its own challenges and convenience.
It is not only the technologies that matter. When BLE Beacons have the ability to push notifications to customers, Wi-Fi antennas excel in tracking customer path across the store. Magnetic Resonance comes to mobile applications, 3D Stereo Video streamlines complex Frontline queues and predictive scheduling.
This difference is prominent when it comes to capturing technology and data integration requirements.
For example, the axiom of Beacon Technology allows the retailer to instantly communicate with the in-store customers, in real-time. This necessitates complex data integration between the beacon devices in the retail outlet, the POS system, the customer relationship management program, and also the retailer’s loyalty application.
1. Monocular Video Analytics (Single Lens Sensors) and 3D Stereo Vision
It is a comprehensive solution that captures an image to analyze the content. It is almost accurate and can be deployed effortlessly. A single lens camera is used to capture images, which are then processed within the sensor and are sent to the server for analysis. The accuracy is 90%. The countable challenge is their treatment of depth. Shadows and changing ambiance are a challenge of this system. However, door counting can gain accuracy.
A modified version of Single Lens Sensors is 3D Stereo Vision. The accuracy is gained by capturing with a high-resolution camera that creates a three-dimensional view of the tracked object.
The points that are considered here are height, speed, direction and mass of an object. As sunlight or shadows devoid of any depth, 3D stereo vision can filter out these objects. Individual object tracking, shopping cart, and person detection are considered. It allows continuous tracking along with multiple cameras during unusual behaviors. The use of Nomi is on a rise, it differentiates the ability to distinguish human with non-human counterparts. It thus provides accurate data during high volume traffic, tolerates environmental variation (light, heat, shadow, etc.), travel direction, adult child's differentiation etc.
But, due to the use of high-end cameras, the cost is a key challenge of this version, however, it is highly preferred for queue management and other instore solution.
2. Thermal Imaging
Thermal Imaging detects the emissions from moving the object and track within the sensor's view area. The technology is not sensitive to any background vision, light or shadows and focuses only on the object. Thus, the outcome is almost accurate. These are easy to install and calibrate, they offer versatile and widespread usage.
3. Infrared Beams
Infrared Beams are installed at the gates. It can be either sideways or at the top of the door. These are low priced device and are easy to install. It detects by sending a direct infrared beam and counts the individual moving across the doorway as the beam gets broken.
You can count on the cost and the simplicity as its major advantage. As it counts all entries and exit into the store, to get the accurate number, the retailers need to half the total number of records to get the exact number of footfall into the store. It is an inexpensive method of door counting whose title has been passed over to Wi-Fi Tracking.
4. Wi-Fi Location Analytics
The ideal tracking technology for any unstructured movements. This is ideal for the large platform that may count airports, stadiums, stations etc. The technology is WiFi dependent on the customer device.
It can cover more than 100,000 square feet, and due to its unique detection system, it can continuously track customer's entry to exit (and even beyond the retail outlet).
Wi-Fi Location Analytics face the challenges of GeoLocation Accuracy as the Cellular Tower Triangulation can be as wide as the half – mile area. Most vendors who offer Wi-Fi Tracking depends on in-store antennas that spot the location of a smartphone, and consequently the customer’s path, inside the retail.
5. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons
Beacon technology assures you of Personalize Purchase when you are at the retail outlet in real time. The technology is backed by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. The mode is wireless deploying short waves, creating a Local Area Network. The BLE system allows retailers to communicate directly with the customers.
With the application of Beacon Technology, retailers can track customers in-store and send promotional messages during their stay time inside the store. BLE enables detection of walking path inside the store, visitor's frequency, product interaction of individual customers.
Beacon Solutions work efficiently when it comes to merchandising and promotional activities in close proximity. The primary objectives are to allow Customer Loyalty, raise Impulse Buying, and increase the Basket Size of customers.
The latest trend in tracking technology is hanging between the choice of personalized purchase and empowering physical store with latest technologies. Retailers need to choose the side for their product promotion to dig out the ultimate gain from the sales.