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The time customers remain in shops is influenced by the temperature, noise, and service

Did you know that high or low temperatures, the level of noise, and bad service are the main factors that influence the time customers stay in shops? A bad smell and the level of CO2, mainly in shops in shopping centres at the end of the day, can also cause costumers to leave the shops sooner. These are the findings of RETAIL PRO, a research project that developed an integrated strategic management platform for work environments.

The consortium, composed of InovRetail, INESC TEC (INESC Technology and Science), the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the Porto School of Engineering (ISEP), has created a platform that uses new methodologies and processes to measure parameters in shops. The correlation between these indicators and the behaviours of the customers is then analysed by the platform. After analysing these variables, it will be possible to improve the performance, and thus increase sales and optimise operational costs.

“To understand the reasons why customers remain in shops for longer or shorter periods of time, we used spatial location tools with video, through Bluetooth or Wifi, and the different sensing variables such as temperature, humidity, noise, light or human resources, everything that can affect the behaviour of consumers in a certain physical space,” explains Pedro Carvalho, the INESC TEC researcher leading the RETAIL PRO, together with Luís Corte-Real.

The platform uses a sophisticated set of highly parameterisable algorithms that can be easily integrated with the retailer’s information system. Other than the tools collecting the data, the platform processes, analyses and presents the results.

These functionalities make it possible to work more efficiently and more effectively on the environment of the shop in order to increase sales. Using an innovative graphic interface, the platform produces and provides the retailer with a set of shop environment management indicators that make it possible to identify, measure and quantify the effect that the variables have on the behaviour of consumers (sales and traffic).

“If we understand the behaviour of the consumers, particularly towards noise and service, we can make improvements, such as distribute human resources more efficiently in the shop,” explains Marco Soares, head of operations at InovRetail. According to Marco Soares, this solution can be commercialised as a service that includes installation at the shop, data analysis and reports with the final results. InovRetail will sell equipment to the retailer, such as the software that will be extracting and analysing the information.

The Seeplus® solution, for which some of the modules were developed as part of project RETAIL PRO, is now being used in shops from LEVI’S®, G-STAR RAW, DOCKERS, WORTEN and NIKE. Throughout the project, there were collaborations with other projects, namely the Media Arts and Technologies, in order to launch new initiatives in this area, and to develop more advanced analysis modules.

This project started in September 2012, and received over a half million euros in funding (552,537.26€).

Porto, 11 March 2015

Joana Coelho

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