Shoppers to be tracked with infrared beams

Published on: 2015-02-05

As the Telegraph tells us:

Supermarket shoppers may soon find their movements tracked by infrared beams as stores try to influence their buying choices.

Under the surveillance scheme sensors similar to those used on automatic garage doors are placed in aisles around the perimeter of a store in what is known a "racetrack" formation.

They emit infrared light and record the number of times the beam is broken by a shopper, the direction the person is heading and the exact time.

Results can be used by supermarkets to establish the "closure rate" of products - how many people bought a product as a percentage of those who passed by.

Our take:

This is, of course, the approach that Nielsen's PRISM takes, and while the company has announced some very preliminary data from their first go-around in the US, we have yet to see the breadth and depth of the information that the project promises to deliver on "full deployment."  Still, considering the current measurement controversy and a small but growing concern about the use of face tracking and other, similar technologies to analyze consumer decision making patterns, PRISM's relatively low-key approach promises a more confidential, less intrusive way to track shopping patterns without tracking the shoppers themselves.

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