To better understand shopper behavior, retailers are tapping new technologies that can deliver real-time information. Italy-based Altromercato is testing new sensor technology that combines facial recognition, Wi-Fi and beacon capabilities.
Partnering with in-store analytics solution provider Taggalo, the 300-store fair trade consortium looks to transform both its product offerings and marketing initiatives.
The structure of Altromercato, with each shop owned by its own cooperative, means both product assortments and customer profiles can vary widely from store to store. Because each store caters to different types of shoppers, Altromercato needed to find a better way to determine optimal targeted inventory selections.
The Taggalo sensors are helping Altromercato reach that goal, in part by allowing the retailer to perform A/B testing on items, to measure which goods are selling better in different parts of the store. The sensors also are helping Altromercato more accurately identify shoppers by age, demographics and spending habits.
“What I would like to know is: if I change the products on the shelf, or if I change the shelf in the store, what happens?” said Andrea Monti, General Manager of Altromercato, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We normally wouldn’t have that information. Now, week by week, we are understanding what changes in customer behavior — not only how much they buy, but are they staying a long time looking at certain shelves, or are they the type of customer that would be attracted by a specific promotion. I believe we can track all these metrics better with Taggalo.”
Tapping Wi-Fi For More Accurate Shopper Data
The visual capabilities of the Taggalo beacons enable the retailer to provide context for the data gathered from the customers’ shopping trips.
“With Wi-Fi, you can find out how frequently consumers come back to the store, and how long they stay inside a given location,” said Paolo Guida, Co-Founder at Taggalo. “With video, you basically get all the rest, so you know how many people are passing by the store, how many people are stopping and looking for certain items, and how long they’re looking at those items.”
Presently, the Altromercato team is focusing heavily on monitoring expense and time spent per single purchase. The cooperative is using these metrics to aid its decision-making process around whether to focus future company development further into food, or into apparel.
“We’re trying to understand what we’re selling more of, but also how much time it takes for a customer to buy the same amount,” Monti stated. “If there is one category that is just bought in 10 seconds rather than two minutes after being seen on the shelf, I believe this is crucial information for me, because we can plan a number of actions on top of it.”
Currently, Altromercato has implemented the sensors in five stores, with plans to expand to 10 by June 2016. The retailer places approximately five to seven sensors in each store in numerous product aisles, the shopping window and the front entrance.
This project is “a reformation plan for our shops,” said Monti. “We are assessing each shop in a very customer-driven way, so that we can identify for each of them which is the best approach in terms of marketing, communications and assortment. This is because we don’t franchise our shops. Each of the shops are owned by cooperatives, and the same cooperatives own the company as a whole.”