An apparel retail store piloted a video feed based shopper profiling using Deep CNN algorithm.
The retail store chain client is facing challenges from e-commerce and other competitors. They are looking to take on the challenge and realise the importance of customer and shopper data. They know that the e-commerce players have access to browsing and other data that helps them engage with shoppers better. They want to setup a system that can help them capture similar (if not same) data from an offline retail perspective, enabling better decisions.
Dual use of video feeds to generate shopper insights
The client already had high-end CCTV cameras installed in their outlet for security purpose. They wanted to utilize the infrastructure to generate shopper insights.
- Majority of shoppers are in the age range of 30-40 years
- 27% of the visitors are accompanied by companions or family
- 82% of shoppers interact with some product but do not make a purchase
The study revealed valuable insights on shopper behaviour inside the store and some additional insights on the shopper profiles that were previously unknown.
High cost of training. Data security risks
The retailer knows the importance of shopper data and The insights they can provide. They also know that in order to counter the ability of personalization on e-commerce platforms, they need to acquire additional data to build a similar solution. And given the offline selling model, they had a leverage that e-commerce platforms don’t have – opportunity to interact with the shoppers and understand their motivation, preferences and other insights.
The conceptualised solution had its share of challenges though. The most pressing was on data security due to privacy guidelines from the regulatory agencies to not store shopper biometrics. The second issue is with the shoppers’ itself – who have a negative perception towards CCTV based intelligence. And lastly, the risk of the solution being misused due to security breaches.
Useful, but resource intensive
The piloted solution provided some valuable insights that are otherwise not available to the retailer.
For once, they knew the demographics of the shoppers through own data sources. The other benefit was knowing the products/items that shoppers interact with, most often.
However, there are some valid concerns on the commercial deployment:
a. The high cost (data infrastructure) of processing high quality video feeds as a data stream
b. Genuine concerns around regulatory compliance, data security protocols and biometric data usage
The client is currently assessing the risks vs. benefits and the legal implications of commercial deployment.