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INESC TEC project makes it possible to understand factors that influence time clients spend in shops

The time that customers spend in shops is influenced by the temperature, noise and service provided. This is the conclusion of RETAIL PRO, a research project which provided an integrated strategic platform to manage work environments.

The consortium, which includes InovRetail, INESC TEC, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the School of Engineering of Porto (ISEP), created a platform based on new methodologies and processes that measure parameters in the shop. The way these indicators relate to the consumers’ behaviour is then analysed by the platform. By analysing these variables the shops can perform better, increase sales and optimise operational costs.

Besides temperature, noise and service provided, the presence of customers in shops is also influenced by unpleasant odours and level of CO2, mainly in shopping centres at the end of the day.

“In order to understand the reasons why consumers stay in the shops for longer or shorter periods of time, we use spatial localisation tools through video, Bluetooth or Wifi, as well as different sensing variables, such as temperature, humidity, noise, light, or human resources, in essence, all aspects that can affect the behaviour of consumers in the certain physical space,” explains Pedro Carvalho, the researcher at INESC TEC’s Centre for Telecommunications and Multimedia (CTM) leading the RETAIL PRO, together with Luís Corte-Real, also from CTM.

The Seeplus® solution, where some modules were developed as part of the RETAIL PRO, is now implemented in shops, such as LEVI’S®, G-STAR RAW, DOCKERS, WORTEN and NIKE. Throughout the project, other cooperations have been established with other projects, namely the Media Arts and Technologies (MAT), in order to launch new initiatives in this area and develop more advanced analysis modules.

This project started being developed in September 2012 and received over half a million euros worth of funding.

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this article are associated with the following partner institutions: INESC Porto and FEUP.

INESC TEC, March 2015

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