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Product and Shopper Movement Tracked by ShoppingTrip360

A new wireless sensor-based application provides retail and CPG companies with data regarding shelf inventory, and indicates how well products are received based on the movements of shopping carts in stores.
By Claire Swedberg
ShoppingTrip360 software displays the carts in the back-end system on a "heat map," with each cart depicted as a small dot. As a shopper pauses at a display, the system can track that action and create analytics indicating the number of shoppers who were attracted to a specific display, as well as the amount of time they spent at that spot.

The system includes Infosys smart shelf pads, each of which incorporates a sensor, powered by the store's lights, that detects the presence of product on a shelf.

The system can also be used to track shelf-stocking. A stocking cart—fitted with a transponder encoded with an ID number indicating the cart is being used for stocking rather than for shopping—is filled with products in the back room. When the cart enters the sales floor, the shelf transponders begin locating and transmitting the cart's store location. This enables managers to know which shelves are being stocked at any particular time, and how long it takes to do so.

Girish A. Ramachandra
Additionally, the system platform allows customers to use their cell phones to gain coupons or recommendations from a store. First, a customer must download the ShoppingTrip360 software. Upon arrival at the store, the consumer follows prompts on that person's cell phone, to set up a temporary account by entering the cart's wireless transceiver ID number. This is done through the specific store's local network provider. The system then knows where the customer is located within the store, based on the unique ID number, and can display coupons and recommendations based on items in the cart's immediate area on the cell phone, via its network connection.

Stores can utilize the heat map to analyze traffic in the store, determining areas where customers congregate, how long people must wait at the checkout counter and the number of sales missed when customers stop at a shelf where items are out of stock. Infosys does not charge stores for the cost of installing hardware or software, Ramachandra says. Instead, the company collects a service fee for the particular applications the store uses. The price, he explains, depends on the number of services utilized.

Ramachandra compares the ShoppingTrip360 system with the manner in which customers shop online. "The nature of the online community," he says, "is that you know what clicks there were—you know how many customers open a window." In a typical supermarket, however, almost none of that visibility exists. "The point of sale is typically the first interaction," he states.

Three unspecified companies are currently testing the ShoppingTrip360 services in North America, Europe and Asia. According to Ramachandra, Infosys is now in discussions with other companies interested in piloting the system as well.

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