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Retailers turn to floor sensors to spy on customers

Jo Malone.
Jo Malone in her first L.A. appearance with customers in 2001. Photo: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A new phase in data collection is underfoot. Retailers are using floor sensors to track movements and gain insight into consumer behavior, AP's Ivan Moreno reports from Milwaukee:

  • "[T]he sensors read a customer’s unique foot compressions to track that person’s path to a digital display and how long the person stand in front of it before walking away...the floor sensors can tell a retailer the best time to offer a coupon or change the display before the customer loses interest."
  • Another way they watch us: "Sunglass Hut and fragrance maker Jo Malone use laser and motion sensors to tell when a product is picked up but not bought."
  • "The sensors can also be used in office buildings to reduce energy costs and in nursing homes to determine when someone falls."
  • But retailers make up the majority of customers for Milwaukee-based startup Scanalytics, which makes the sensors.