Journeying Deeper Into The Minds Of Shoppers

In the unending battle to chart consumer tastes, retailers have tried simple questionnaires and costly surveys. Now comes ShopperTrak, a hidden optical eye that can be integrated with point-of-sale (POS) systems to give an ever-better picture of how many shoppers came into a store, where they went, and why they bought the things they bought.

The automated system, from Datatec Industries in Fairfield, N. J., goes beyond an electronic eye that counts people passing through a beam at a store entrance. ShopperTrak's sensors determine whether a person is coming or going. The system also computes a shopper's height--helping separate adults, with the most buying power, from children. When placed at escalators or at the end of aisles, it can show traffic patterns. And by linking this data to POS systems that track sales, it can gauge what share of these shoppers become paying customers--and help retailers evaluate the effectiveness of various promotions or displays. Datatec plans to test its system in a toy store within 60 days and introduce its product by June.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.