Yesterday, we blogged about Warby Parker’s new store, which features “hidden sensors” embedded in the store to track how people use the retail space. And today, we came across a TechCrunch article touting a "Mall App (that) Tracks Shoppers With Ultrasonic Device."
The headline of this article is a little misleading. This is actually a case of two separate pieces of technology working together in order to benefit both the customer and the retailer. The ultrasonic device, called the iSenze (seen in the photo, above a phone for scale), tracks the shopper’s physical location, while the ShopGuru app tracks shopper’s reward points and allows them to browse for deals. The magic happens when the shopper approaches a store equipped with the iSenze and then deals and rewards pertaining to that store are pushed to the shopper’s mobile device.
Both iSenze and ShopGuru are made by a Singapore-based company called Rainmaker Labs, which is still testing the technology, with intentions to go live in a month of two.
The app appears to be more focused on tracking deals and redemption data than in-store behavior.
Shoppers can earn reward points by browsing deals, walking into a store and making a purchase. Retailers can monitor which deals shoppers are responding to and which ones they are ignoring.
The app appears to be more focused on tracking deals and redemption data than in-store behavior. It’s not quite clear to what extent the iSenze can monitor a customer’s physical movements within a store, which means there is a gap in tracking an individual’s purchase behavior. For instance, a promo for a great pair of shoes may entice a customer into the store, but they may end up walking out with a new shirt. While the retailer is able to identify which deal sparked the customer’s interest and which product they left with, they are not able to see what influenced their final purchase upon entering the store. Being able to track in-store behavior could add significant value to the retailer.
Before rolling out to the mass retail market, it seems iSenze and ShopGuru have a few kinks to work out.
Before rolling out to the mass retail market, it seems iSenze and ShopGuru have a few kinks to work out. Monitoring in-store behavior -- e.g. what specific products customers are checking out and how long they are spending in the store -- seems crucial in determining what really influences a customer’s purchasing patterns. Also, seeing as reward points “are redeemable for other goods from participating stores,” and are not specific to an individual retailer, It would be interesting to see how and where customers are redeeming their points.