PICK PAY INFRARED TEST TRACES CUSTOMER PATHS

MUNICH, Germany (FNS) -- Pick Pay, a 103-store discount chain in Switzerland, is testing a customer-tracking system using two-way infrared technology.Edwin Scherrer, Pick Pay's chief executive, said the system, similar to one tested at Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis, was recently installed in three stores. Preliminary test results will be analyzed over the next two months.Scherrer said the system

MUNICH, Germany (FNS) -- Pick Pay, a 103-store discount chain in Switzerland, is testing a customer-tracking system using two-way infrared technology.

Edwin Scherrer, Pick Pay's chief executive, said the system, similar to one tested at Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis, was recently installed in three stores. Preliminary test results will be analyzed over the next two months.

Scherrer said the system will be used to obtain better analysis of scanning data, preferences of its customer base and more insight into the effectiveness of store layouts and merchandising.

At Pick Pay stores, shopping carts are equipped with radio transmitters that communicate with ceiling-mounted receivers. The ceiling sensors capture shopper behavior and movement throughout the store.

Pick Pay will monitor customer traffic patterns to identify "hot" and "cold" areas of its stores.

"We believe infrared communication technology will be the leader" in obtaining such information, Scherrer said during a presentation at CIES here last month.

The customer tracking system was developed by Codem Systems, Hollis, N.H., and is marketed in Europe by Delta Advisory Group, Zug, Switzerland.

Marsh Supermarkets installed the tracking system in one store nearly a year ago.

"Right now it's still a pretty new toy and [we're] trying to sort out where this might fit into the category management initiative," said Mark Heckman, director of market research.

"If you're going to be out in front with this kind of technology, you have to be patient. Let it grow."