As a first technology, Tigros explored using video sensors to measure the presence of people in queues. However, video cameras produce data noise as they count all the people in the queue. They could not identify a household, e.g., to distinguish between a couple or a family of three with a single cart/basket, which led to discarding this option. In 2020, Tigros decided to test RetailerIN technology, a retail intelligence platform tracking carts and baskets and mapping the customer’s entire journey in-store.
ThinkIN’s RetailerIN solution is based on Quuppa Real-Time Locating System (RTLS), an indoor location infrastructure including Locators installed on the ceiling, and small devices (TAGs), provided by BlueUp, to be attached to shopping carts and baskets. The Locators locate the carts/baskets within their coverage range with sub-meter accuracy. The data is collected in the cloud and can be used for in-depth analysis of each shopping path in the store.
Amongst other things, RetailerIN monitors queue formation accurately. The tracking begins when the customer is near a checkout lane but counts as queuing when the cart/basket remains in that area for at least 10 seconds. The system sends notifications via a dedicated application for mobile devices (e.g., tablets), if predefined queue thresholds are exceeded or when they reach a critical level. This allows store managers and employees to quickly manage a possible lengthening of waiting times and inform the status of different check-outs in real time. RetailerIN also provides analytics on queue formation based on the number of people queuing and time spent to enable store managers to plan staff allocation optimally and maximise service quality.
In addition to queue management, using store entry and exit data, the system provides basic analytics on customer behaviour in the store, such as the number of people on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, time spent in the store, and preference regarding shopping cart/basket.
The project was carried out in partnership with Bertoldi Aldo, a company specialising
in supermarket technology and equipment. RetailerIN system was first installed in two stores and then expanded to fourteen stores, all located in Lombardy, with a total of 7,500 carts and baskets tracked.
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