Big Brother is Watching You (In the Grocery Store)

Posted on Posted in Grocery Store Traps

Unknown to many, grocery stores are one the largest living laboratories around. Unfortunately, we are the mice and the large corporate supermarket chains are the investigators.

Every single inch of your local friendly supermarket has been tested and re-tested to achieve the maximum amount of profit for the supermarket from the color of the floor to the size of the sales signs, from the placement of the produce to the placement of food on the store shelves. Every aspect of your grocery stores layout has been arranged to get you to spend more.

So effective is your supermarket that its estimated that nearly 40 to 50% of your grocery store purchases are impulse buys items you had no intention of purchasing when you first entered the store. Yet grocery stores aren’t resting on their laurels. They are now using an ever increasing number of ways to gather and analyze shopper data.

Those store circular coupons and small loyalty cards attached to your keychain are literal gold mines of information. Supermarkets know what you buy, when you buy it, and how much you’re willing to pay for everything you buy.

Smile You’re on Candid Camera.

Now many supermarkets are going a step beyond in their collection of shopper data. That security camera used to catch shop lifters may be tracking your every shopping behavior tracking what products you buy, how you determine which products to purchase, and what type of shopping pattern you use to cover the store during your shopping trip.

A company called VideoMining has even developed a complete store tracking system utilizing video camera information to help retailers analyze your shopping behavior. According to the company website, their video tracking system helps retailers in the following way:

Understanding the motivations behind customer shopping behavior is the key to influencing their buying patterns. VideoMining TSP provides the stage for efficiently evaluating the effects of product placement, product assortment and cross merchandising changes and bolsters the development of strategies and tactics that lead to increased sales. For example, understanding trip patterns provides clues for ideal placement for impulse items and displays.

The company has even patented technology that measures the emotional response of shoppers to products on the store shelf. All of this information only makes it easier for supermarkets to design their stores in a way that manipulates us into buying even more than we need.

  • In what ways can a marketing display be altered in order to attract more shoppers?
  • What is the optimal location to place a product in a store so that the greatest percentage of people purchase it?
  • How does changing the signage on a product create more impulse purchases?

These are just some of the thousands of questions stores can ask and test with video tracking technology.

So what do you think about being part of the new high tech laboratory known as your supermarket? How do you feel knowing that every shopping move could be recorded and analyzed on video camera?