Retailers are tracking you in hundreds of ways; here are three

Summary:Version 4.0 of RetailNext's in-store analytics platform includes gender demographics, employee detection and full-floor heat maps.


Fun fact: today's brick-and-mortar retailers are tracking your progress through their stores with heat maps.

Retailers have a lot more than that at their disposal, in truth, thanks to software companies such as RetailNext.

This morning, the company updated its in-store analytics platform, adding gender demographics, employee detection and the aforementioned full-floor heat maps to give retail execs a better sense of how you're shopping.

It's not just a matter of customer intelligence, either — the San Diego, Calif.-based company pitches its platform as a way to increase sales and reduce theft, too.

Some of the tech is startling. "Gender detection" can determine just that, making you wonder what the rules are for such a thing. "Employee detection" does so through the use of Wi-Fi-based identification tags that employees carry around in their pockets.

And those heat maps? They give a far more granular view of which areas of the store are more- and less-frequently trafficked. (Which is better than analyzing the scuffs on the floor.)

The insights can all be viewed on a mobile device, too.

So the next time you're walking through a store, don't just smile — dance. You're on candid camera, hundreds of times over.

Topics: Start-Ups, E-Commerce


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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