Progressive Grocer

MAR 2017

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88 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | March 2017 Technology Shopper Behavior H annaford Supermarkets has em- bedded RFID chips into the shop- ping carts of its 68,000-square- foot store in Bedford, N.H. e Scarborough, Maine-based grocer, a division of Ahold Delhaize, wants to track the paths of shoppers around the store. is is just the latest example of grocers us- ing sophisticated technology to study shopper behavior. For several years, special cameras in the ceilings recorded customer movements in many stores around the country. Why track shoppers? According to Hannaford President Mike Vail, the information gathered from the chips will help improve the placement of products throughout the chain's stores. Technologies that anonymously track shoppers can help in optimizing almost all aspects of store design, merchandising and marketing, adds Rajeev Sharma, founder and CEO of State College, Pa.-based VideoMining Corp., which studies in- store shopper behavior for retailers and brands. "Given the changing competitive landscape that is spilling over from the brick and mortar to online channels, it is especially important for grocery retailers to develop capabilities for under- standing the in-store behavior of their shoppers," explains Sharma. "In essence, these new technolo- gies enable traditional grocery retailers to have the same level of understanding about their shoppers as online retailers such as Amazon." According to research by the Chicago-based trade association Shop! (formerly POPAI North America), three out of four of all purchase decisions (76 percent) are made in the store. Obvi- ously, engaging shoppers along the path to purchase is one of the most important challenges facing retailers and con- sumer packaged goods manu- facturers. Many analysts believe that the best way to do so is to start by tracking the shoppers' paths, which provide clues about where to place products and displays in the store's layout. "Understanding a shop- per's path through the store high- Treasure Hunt Understand customers by tracking their paths through the store. By John Karolefski lights opportunities to cross-merchandise products and allows retailers and potentially branded CPGs the opportunity to tailor offers based on a shop- per's in-store behavior," says Randy Burt, who leads the Americas grocery practice at New York-based consultancy A.T. Kearney. "Video analytics and direct observation are the more mature methods to determine the path shoppers are taking." "e path of your shopper can tell you what areas you need to grow or reduce, and provide insight into the motivations and interests of your customers," notes Bharat Rupani, president of San Diego-based Interac- tions Marketing, a firm specializing in product dem- onstrations and experience marketing. "For example, if you're finding most shoppers shop the perimeter of the store in the evenings for dinner and never touch the center store, you likely have a location in an area of the store with busy shoppers who respond best to conve- nience. ere are several ways to determine this path, including department and category analyses, shopper intercept surveys, and mystery shops. These new technologies enable traditional grocery retailers to have the same level of understanding about their shoppers as online retailers such as Amazon." —Rajeev Sharma, VideoMining Corp.

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