A Brief History of People Tracking Technologies
In the always-on retail arena, creating a seamless thread of analytics is frayed with challenges. And yet, the online is not a mirror of offline. In eCommerce, the customer’s journey is individual and linear. In the physical world, customers are bombarded by the inputs of the five senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. And the stores must deal with layout, marketing, merchandise, workforce, and abnormal behaviors, all at the same time!
Tracking is the next phase beyond people counting. Counting is based on detection technology, and therefore “counts” how many people dwell in a particular location. Tracking refers to “people in motion” and therefore includes the components of both location and time.
People Tracking Technologies have evolved into an array of solutions, including 2D/3D Video, Thermal, Wi-Fi, BLE Beacons, RFID, laser, radar, magnetic resonance, and others. In general, tracking technology is a function of a “smart device” owned by the consumer or a “smart sensor” deployed by the retailer. Regardless of vendors, the technologies are differentiated by their intrinsic design, accuracy, and cost.
How to Quantify a Behavior
People Tracking solutions measure, monitor and predict activities. While people do many things in the physical store – visit a department, browse products, wait for checkout etc. – the common denominator for the activity is where it takes place and how long it lasts.
We can connect the “where” and “when” to other systems such as the Point-of-Sale and Workforce Management. The data integration process provides metrics describing “with what” and “with whom” behaviors. Together, behavior analytics models provide a more holistic picture of “why” customers and staff behave, and how we can grow sales and profits.
Behavior Analytics for the Physical Store
Behavior Analytics metrics and models includes studies in demand, conversion, scheduling, abnormal, queue, abandon, engagement, and growth behaviors.
Below are the more common applications:
People Counting: The term is attributed to door-counters, and the data output is simple and consist of how many people enter and exit the store. The business objective is the calculation of Sale Conversion.
People Tracking: Monitor the customer’s journey inside the store, including dwell time and engagement with displays and products.
Schedule to Demand: To optimize the schedule for profitability, we connect between demand (traffic levels), customer service, and store performance.
Queue Management: The solutions monitor the “how many” and “how long” people wait for service, and predict how many cashiers should be active in order to prevent the formation of queues.