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The Hot Spots of Retail

By Carl Ford November 24, 2014

I am not quite sure I understand the advantage to Starbucks of having a Hotspot.  Normally, I walk in and see a bunch of people who look like they can afford broadband in their home clinging to a chair and their laptop with a “latte” on the side. No one ever looks like they’re ready to leave. Contrast that to McDonald’s who perhaps purposely provides the Wi-Fi without the power and you rarely see the place full. 

Understanding where and if money is being made strikes me as a good thing. When Prism Skylabs started to share with me their solution for retailers, I was very intrigued. Prism Skylabs started operations in Europe where privacy concerns are much more regulated. While they use cameras to collect information, they do not store customer faces. Instead they aggregate the data as to where people went, what they touched and how they moved.

The result is a Hotspot map of the customers’ interactions with goods and how the flow of the store actually works.

Prism pictures of the store are absent people, so often the video can be distressingly void of signs of life. In aggregate the heat sources become very telling. The table that only has one side being touched by the customers could be an issue of flow or the goods being sold. Fortunately, Prism Skylabs gives additional clues with arrows about the flow of customer traffic. Their system also delivers arrow diagrams of when people diverge on the flow and what percentage moves in what direction.

While in a place like Starbucks, the counter would obviously be the hot spot, it would be interesting to see the flow and the value of the shelves across from the counter works.   For companies with more than one store, the use of Prism can represent a contrast and compare strategy.  

While from a nomadic stand point, I’d like to have the benefit of a Wi-Fi hotspot, if I were in retail, I think Prism’s hot spots would serve me better.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Partner, Crossfire Media

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