Using TrackLab to gain insights into retail consumers

You can use TrackLab to gain complete insight into the movement of customers in your retail environment. In general, you can use it to measure and analyze customer traffic throughout your shop. TrackLab can carry out footfall analysis to calculate dwell times, customer flow, shopper routes, surface area utilization, identify high traffic areas and dead areas. Because of its open architecture, you can use it with a great variety of tracking technologies, making it suitable for use in a wide diversity of environments from large shopping malls to smaller convenience stores.


Noldus IT has decades of experience in creating solutions for measuring behavior.  We have used that expertise to create a solution which provides you with the information you need to understand what your customers are doing.

TrackLab offers you a number of different possibilities to visualize and analyse the behavior of people in a retail environment. The heat map gives an instant overview of how much time the customers spent in different parts of the store, that is, the surface area utilization. The brighter the color, the more time customers spent at that location. In the screenshot on the right, you can see that customers spent a relatively large amount of time by product 6, and also spent quite a lot of time by the checkouts. It is also clear that the area on the top right (by the Produce as you come in to the shop) is a dead area which receives little traffic.

You can also carry out a more detailed analysis of various parts of the shop by defining zones.  You can do that either on the basis of the information the heat map gives you, or you can for instance, mark a zone where you have placed a new product or display unit. TrackLab will then calculate and visualize information about that zone. For example, impulse items are ideally placed where there is a high traffic density, but also where customers are not moving too fast. TrackLab calculates the number of visits customers made to a zone, the dwell time, average, minimum and maximum speed (and a lot more statistics), both for individual customers and for them all averaged together. The speed that the customers move can also be seen in a graph (as shown on the left). TrackLab also contains special statistics which help you quantify the searching behavior of customers. You can also create more complex analysis reports, for example to analyse how much time the customers were standing still or moving slowly when standing in front of the dairy section.

You can use this information to determine the order that customers buy products, minimize areas prone to shoplifting, and see whether products are not selling due to a sub-optimal layout or because of a factor related to the product itself.

Privacy and persuasiveness

The tracking technologies that we use have the advantage that they do not store video images or record audio, nor do they identify the individuals being tracked.  The information gathered is much less personal than from a security camera. That means that the system can be safely used in a real shop with actual customers, without any concerns about invading their privacy. Nevertheless, it is possible to configure the system so that it can provide information related to what the individual has been doing. TrackLab can provide input to other software, dependent on the path that the customers have taken in the shop or other behaviors such as standing still or walking fast. For instance, when a customer approaches a new product and pauses there, a signal can be sent to a PowerPoint presentation on an adjacent display, so that relevant information is shown, or a message could be shown on a smart phone app. We advise that customers are informed that they are being tracked, in the same way that they are informed about security cameras monitoring them. If smartphones are used as the tracking device, you can also inform your customers that if they don't want to be tracked they can turn off their WiFi or Bluetooth. If Noldus is carrying out the tracking, the subjects are always informed.

Why use tracking?

Conventional methods such as following customers with pen and paper or event recording software can also provide useful information about consumers' behavior. However, those methods are quite labor-intensive and it is also impossible to obtain data such as the speed moved by the customers using traditional methods.

Complete solutions using a variety of tracking technologies

TrackLab has an open architecture, which means that is is possible to use it with a great variety of different tracking techniques. Noldus can help you select the tracking technique best suited to your needs and implement a complete solution for you.  For open-air events or shopping malls with a glass roof, GPS is often the best choice. For convenience stores or environments such as banks, tracking using stereoscopic cameras is ideal. For living labs of retail environments, where it is possible to place tags on the consumers, ultra wide-band tracking is a suitable technique. It is also possible to use this technique in real shops, by creating an incentive for the customers to use (and return) the tags. Furthermore, Noldus InnovationWorks is developing a people tracker, which will be able to track customers in a shop using simple side-view video cameras. You can also use TrackLab with Elitac tactile sensors in the retail environment (see PDF). Essentially, whatever your circumstances, we can probably find a tracking technique that works for you. Please contact us!