Over the years, marketers have done lots of research on shopper behavior. including eye tracking and facial recognition. Now, we can add shoe (foot) tracking to the list of research techniques used by retailers.
As Oliver Smith reports for The Memo:
“Now, there’s a novel new technology that can figure out your age, gender, and social class, just by looking at your feet. Hoxton Analytics has created a small camera unit which, placed close to the floor near the doors of a shop, watches people’s shoes as they walk by.”
“As well as counting the sheer number of people walking past (the ‘footfall’ of the store), the cameras use artificial intelligence to figure out the kind of people who are walking. Hoxton can deduce gender, age, social class, and whether people are alone or in a couple, all from looking at their shoes. What makes Hoxton so unique is that retailers get all this data without any ‘creepy’ privacy invasions, like tracking your smartphone or watching your face.”
5 Replies to “A New Way to Track Shoppers”
Wow. Just image when you walk by a store it tracked when you last walked by because it not only predicts your age, gender and demographics but when you last walked into a store. That AI data could then be used to send you reminders to your SMS or email that a return visit is indicated ie You last bought milk and should think of returning because by your habits it time to restock.
They’re only tracking anonymous demographics based on video modelling. This is not tied to purchases.
Granted. But we know that unique identifiers of Biometric verification or any means by which a person can be uniquely identified is by evaluating one or more distinguishing traits. Whose to say how long it will be before an algorithm is available to uniquely identify you by your unique “footfall.”
I think this is great because it does reduce the creepiness of determining the demographics of your shoppers. However it still leaves many unanswered questions and could lead to inaccurate assumptions as to how long the shopper will be inside. Those in sneakers could be doing errands and plan to run in momentarily and pick up something specific or they could be shopping for the day – 2 completely different shoppers. Women in heels or dress shoes could be picking up something as a fix for an outfit or want to try on clothing with their favorite pair of shoes and be shopping for many outfits. More factors remain to get a proper assessment of a shopper.
Perhaps this concept does leave many blanks or unanswered questions for the firm, but the AI technology does absolutely help the firm in calculating what changes they can make to positively affect foot traffic. Perhaps this concept is a bit intrusive, but we can assume that eventually there would be some sort of limitation on what exactly can be tracked in order to maintain privacy of shoppers.