Retailers Monitor Consumer Behavior

May 07, 2002

A small but growing number of retailers in the United States are using hidden video cameras and microphones to provide clues about why certain products sell and why others don’t. Observational research is a growth industry here, largely because traditional market research is losing its effectiveness, reports Toronto’s The Globe and Mail.

“We can tell how many people pass by a given section of the store, how fast they are moving, how long they stop at a given display,” says Amir Hudda, CEO of Brickstream Corp. of Arlington, Va. Brickstream can follow individual shoppers and analyze overall traffic patterns to determine a store’s “hot zones and cold zones” from hidden cameras in the ceilings of supermarkets and other retailers.

One Brickstream client, a soft drink company, uses the data to determine where to locate displays to maximize sales. Another client, a brewery, uses surveillance information to determine if beer in a refrigerator sells better than beer sitting on the shelf at room temperature.

Moderator Comment: Is traditional market research losing its effectiveness as suggested in The Globe and Mail article?

This is clearly one of those, if only we knew then what
we know now, cases. Traditional market research is not losing its effectiveness.
We’ve just become more aware of the limitations of the various research methods.
Anderson – Moderator

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