March 12, 2007, 12:00 AM

A supermarket brings web analytics into the store

At Green Hills Market, shoppers touch a web-connected SmartShop fingerprint scanner as they walk into the store, causing a nearby kiosk to print out within seconds a list of coupons tailored to their past shopping behavior.

 

At Green Hills Market, shoppers touch a web-connected SmartShop fingerprint scanner as they walk into the store, causing a nearby kiosk to print out within seconds a list of coupons tailored to their shopping behavior.

“One of our goals is to bring to brick-and-mortar retailers all the capabilities of the online retailing world,” says Gary Hawkins, proprietor of Green Hills, a single independent grocery store in Syracuse, NY.

The SmartShop system is a product of PayByTouch, which also provides retailers with biometric payment devices that let shoppers activate a payment by touching a fingerprint reader. SmartShop, which was co-developed by PayByTouch and Hawkins, incorporates software algorithms that analyze in-store customer shopping behavior and configure for each customer (or group of customers from the same household) promotional offers tailored to their known interests. Shoppers participating in the SmartShop system touch a fingerprint reader to identify themselves and activate the coupon printer as they enter a store, then touch a fingerprint reader again as they check out to record their shopping activity.

"The SmartShop service has been extremely popular, and shopper participation is already impacting 50% of store revenue," Hawkins says. "We have seen offer redemption rates exceeding 20%.” Shoppers enrolled in SmartShop have increased their visits by 10% over a comparable period a year ago before the program was available, he adds.

Unlike more traditional loyalty card programs, SmartShop doesn’t have to deal with lost cards or card substitutions, Hawkins says. When a cashier swipes an extra loyalty card for a customer who has forgotten or misplaced her own card, the customer will still get any applicable price discounts, but the retailer doesn’t get the benefit of recording the customer’s shopping activity, Hawkins says.

The fingerprint scanning system not only eliminates such problems, but it makes it more cost-efficient to collect shopping data for individuals as well as all members of a household, who typically share the same account number in loyalty card programs, Hawkins adds.

Shoppers signed up for the SmartShop system can request e-mailed notices of available coupons, and they can log onto the Green Hills SmartShop web site to check available coupons and configure a shopping list. Then when they enter the store and touch the fingerprint scanner, the kiosk will automatically print out their coupons and the shopping list they configured online, Hawkins says.

Hawkins is also CEO of Hawkins Strategic, a consulting firm that advises other retailers and worked with PayByTouch to develop SmartShop.

Two other retailers are also about to go live with the SmartShop system, a PayByTouch spokeswoman says, declining to name the merchants.

 

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