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Customer Emotion Tracking- ‘A boon for the modern day Physical Store’

In this compulsive customer personalization age, technology continues to breathe life into the brick-and-mortar stores. Online retail may well be in the ascendency, but the scope of growth for offline retail and physical stores is huge. Technology is empowering this fact. If analysing big data has become a common phenomenon and deploying sensors appears to be a regulation now, how about tracking customer emotions? As unrealistic as it sounds, it is possible and it can completely revolutionize the face of physical retail.


Technology makes it possible


Customer understanding can be made easy and much more effective for the retailers owing to the modern day technological developments that can help customer emotion tracking. Numerous startups are already receiving significant amount of appreciation around the globe as they are using a combination of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to help identify human expression and emotion accurately. This can be done by tracking the micro expressions on the faces of the customers to find out if they are sad, happy, surprised, disgusted, scared, confused etc. Age, race and gender can also be found out as a result of resorting to the development of modern day softwares.


Apart from this, soon wearable devices tracking emotion, pioneered by credible startups can be the next technological breakthrough in modern day retail as these wearables can monitor the blood pressure and heart rate of the wearer and in turn depict a picture of their emotional profile.


What it means to the Retailers


Emotion tracking of customers can help retailers across the Globe cater to their customers with a great degree of exclusivity and personalization. By properly interpreting their facial reactions and monitoring the wearable readings, retailers can make the necessary real time adjustments within the store in order to attend to their needs in the best possible way. Let's analyse a few instances.


  • The emotional data of customers can help retailers figure out whether they are entering the store stressed, happy, sad, etc. If the data suggests that the customer is stressed, then it might mean that he is in a hurry and the necessary adjustments can be made by sending an assistant to help him buy what he is looking for and fast. If he is sad, then discount coupons and offers that might potentially cheer him up can be sent to his mobile device through sensors. On the other hand if he is happy, then new products in relation to his interest can be pushed for generating stimulation within him that might result to a purchase eventually.


  • The retailers can also understand what objects or entities in the store bring about a shift in mood among the customers. For instance if the customer goes to the coffee section and the reaction suggests unhappiness, it might mean that the product he is looking for is unavailable. An attendant can then be quickly sent to suggest him with the list of alternatives. Similarly, if the retailer can understand the factors that make the customer happy, then the merchandizing of the store and product placements can be done in a particular way that is in accordance with the needs of respective customers.

Overall, the data extracted out of the tracking of customer emotions can prove to be more than a handful in providing unparallel forms of customer service. The buying experience of the customer can be enhanced multiple times with the help of the data that can be accumulated. Indian retailers should keep a close eye on these developments and try to adhere to the services of the same in order to score maximum conversions and be at par with the latest technologies that are in use in retail globally. With online retail already expected to flourish, this is the best chance for offline retail to stay in the reckoning.


Getting Over the 'Creepy Feeling'


Customers might feel creepy on being monitored on their emotions as many might think it as a step too far. They might feel that the entire process is very intrusive and breaks in to their privacy. But one has to understand the overwhelming objective behind this. An enhanced customer shopping experience is what the retailers thrive for and the customers should play their part in it. In any case, customers are used to sharing personal information like location and others while shopping online or placing an order. The reluctance to do so diminished gradually with customers recognizing the convenience in service it brought to them. This is kind of the same. Retailers should be cooperated with in order to make it easy for them to provide a one of a kind shopping experience. For that, getting over the 'creepy feeling' is important.

About Shakuntala Sarkar

Shakuntala is a marketer with 15 years of experience in Marketing Strategies & Operations, Brand Communications, Customer Relationship Management and Corporate Communications. An economics graduate from St Xavier’s college, Kolkata and a IIMC she, has worked across different industries like IT & Retail, with consumer marketing in both B2B and B2C segments. Before joining Tickto, she was the Head of Customer Relationship Management at Spencer’s Retail. Prior to that, she has been a part of the Global Marketing & Communications team of Satyam Computer Services.

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