Study Shows Shopper Behavior

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A research project quantifying shopper behavior in supermarkets using video cameras to track customer movements has begun to illustrate how shoppers act with regard to certain categories in the stores.

Preliminary data from the research, which is being conducted by VideoMining Corp. here, show the performance of certain product categories relative to Center Store overall by measuring share of traffic, shopper engagement within the category — measured by the customer stopping — and sales relative to traffic and engagement.

The Center Store Mega-Study, which began last October in eight different supermarkets (in geographically dispersed markets) under five different banners, uses up to 150 cameras per store to track shopper behavior. The second phase of the study is scheduled to launch in May in at least 15 supermarkets operating under seven to eight different banners.

The preliminary data shown here compare the share of shopper indices for six Center Store categories, with 100 being the average for all Center Store categories. The data measure main (in-aisle) product locations only.

For example, the preliminary data show that while beer indexed even higher than carbonated beverages for exposure (188 vs. 131, respectively), carbonated beverages performed better on exposure unit response (499 vs. 337). Both categories did well on engagement response, implying that once customers stop, they are likely to buy, according to Tom Sullivan, president of VideoMining.

On the other hand, both soup and laundry under-indexed for exposure, but performed better than average on exposure response. However, soup under-indexed in dollar response to engagement, implying that it did not generate enough sales per category shopper, Sullivan explained.

“The ‘share of shopper’ data provide a formal basis for comparing key performance characteristics of each category and identifying opportunities,” he said. “For example, which categories to target for increasing exposure or which categories to target for improving engagement.”