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

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.