Old school cameras offer new school data

Retail stores have begun utilizing technology that has typically been readily available to them in order to track consumers' purchasing habits and overall experience, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Retail stores have begun utilizing technology that has typically been readily available to them in order to track consumers' purchasing habits and overall experience, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Instead of relying on customer surveys, which Herb Sorensen of market research firm TNS Retail and & Shoppers deemed ineffective because "the consumer can say one thing and do another," some shops are turning to security cameras.

In-store security cameras can act as a customer experience management tool, helping to determine which variables affect a purchase. This is done using software that analyzes the video and correlates it to sales data. Radio frequency identification chips and motion sensors can also be integrated for additional information.

T-Mobile is one of a few businesses to have deployed the technology, as it aims to track how people move around its stores, how long they stand in front of displays, which phones they pick up and for how long.

A similar shopper tracking initiative that involved tapping into mall shoppers' mobile devices was put on hold because of privacy concerns, Bloomberg notes in a separate article.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer put a stop to the trial, which took place in malls across the country, stating that a shopper's personal cell phone should not be used by a third party as a tracking device by retailers.