A new artificial intelligence technology, dubbed shelfPoint, created by two companies, Cloverleaf and Affectiva, has been released to monitor the facial expressions and behaviors of shoppers at brick and mortar retail stores. Respectively, the retail tech and facial AI companies aim to help store owners to not only better understand the decision process of their consumers, but to better optimize their sales efficiency and advertising reach.
The AI will use eye-level sensors to analyze the facial expressions of shoppers to try to learn what correlates with a sale and what does not. In addition, the shelfPoint will also use its sensors to aggregate the age, ethnicity, and sex of those standing in front of the shelves equipped with the technology. This data, in turn, can be used to generate more accurate demographic pools for online advertisements.
Along with the eye level sensors, the shelves will be equipped with LCD strips to provide advertisements, promotions, and price information for the items above. Cloverleaf claims that this technology has improved sales by as much as 30% in trial runs.
Whereas ecommerce stores have long been able to understand conversion rates by analyzing visitor behavior data, brick and mortar stores have not previously had that capability. An ecommerce store, for instance, can easily automate data tracking processes with high precision and easily understand what displays and advertisements provide the highest returns. Using this data it is expected that store owners will be better able to purchase the right product and display them in a manner that will entice consumers to buy them. Furthermore, it will be able to tell them what areas of the store sell the most and which racks drive the most sales.
In response to criticism about the possible invasions of privacy that this technology may infringe upon the privacy of shoppers, the companies claim that they are only storing meta-data and not any information that can allow someone to personally identify a shopper.
The technology is being released in early 2017 for early adopters and will be available for all retailers later in the year.
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