Friday, June 24, 2011

Freeze Shoppers to Discern Their Wishes

The Economic Times of India is raving about a technology from StickyPiXEL that, when embedded in a point-of-sale location, analyzes each shopper’s facial structure, facial expressions, body size, posture, and movement paths. The promise of the technology is to determine at a useful level of accuracy the demographic breakout of those who show interest in a product and then to track the degree of interest and the sequence of shopping steps for different demographic segments.
     Earlier this year, the exhibit floor at the National Retail Federation show featured an Anonymous Video Analytics technology that would seem to be born of the same spirit. A shopper approaches the sort of kiosk that could be positioned in a grocery store aisle. The kiosk uses facial recognition technology to assess the shopper’s age and gender. Then the consumer is invited to punch in information about their planned meal times and swipe their frequent shopper card, which links to data about the consumer’s past food purchases. The kiosk then generates meal ideas. Want a sample of an item it suggests you buy? Ask with a poke of the finger on the screen.
     A skilled salesperson could duplicate the magic of this Anonymous Video Analytics device. The StickyPiXEL technology goes it one better because of the ability to analyze motion in order to draw conclusions about the shopper. A skilled salesperson might very well be able to do that, too, but analyzing the implications of movement can be trickier for the retailing brain.
     “Keep your eye on the ball” is advice often given to baseball batters to prevent them from getting ahead of themselves. Those same words might be good advice for people watching the game at home, and for the same reason. Researchers at Northwestern University and University of Minnesota point out how when people see a baseball hit with great force, they often have a momentary feeling of certainty the ball will go out of the park. Maybe an undeserved feeling of certainty.
     We’re better with projecting when it comes to human shoppers rather than baseballs in flight. However, if that human shopper is from a culture different from our own, the meaning of movement can be misread. One suggestion by the researchers to improve accuracy is to take still pictures in our brain of what we’re seeing and check the interpretation of those stills against the conclusions from the mental video.

Click below for more:
Lie in Wait for Lying Shoppers
Stay Close to the Customer
Beware Flawed Predictions from Animations

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