Big data has arrived at the mall, department store and specialty retailers near you. Traditional stores of all sizes are turning to video surveillance.

Euclid Analytics announced in a press release its new big data product for specialty retailers. The new analytics tool for brick-and-mortar specialty retailers joins their suite of retail tools that senses smartphone signals and transmits data on pedestrian and shopper traffic via Wi-Fi signals.

Euclid then analyzes all available data from the store to help retailers improve pricing, product selection and point-of-purchase displays to improve store profitability.

Traditional stores of all sizes are working with data companies to silently gather information based on cell phone signals. This data can be analyzed for patterns to help retailers improve pricing, product selection and service.

Guido Jouret, the head of Cisco’s emerging technology unit, states in a recent article in The New York Times that retailers lack the advantage of Internet retailers who can analyze website visitors’ cookies, or codes that track their visits and surfing patterns. Digital retailers use online data analytics to assess everything from the interest level of various web pages to pricing for maximum profits. Cell phone tracking is just an extension of the digital realm across the threshhold of brick-and-mortar stores.

The ubiquity of cell phones has given companies just the right tool they need to bridge the gap between Internet-style monitoring and traditional retail market research. Cell phone signals can be monitored anonymously by these new big data systems. The general location of the actual cell phone, not individual data, is transmitted via Wi-Fi signals to the company providing the analysis. This information can be used by itself or combined with other retail sales data for deeper marketing analysis.

Several tools have rolled out in recent years that use cell phone tracking to provide retailers with detailed market research. Retail Next, another service, can pinpoint within a 10-foot radius where shoppers have been inside a retail store if their cell phones are set to pick up a local Wi-Fi signal.

UK-based Path Intelligence uses “Footpath” technology for market research. Special monitors located around stores or malls pick up cell phone signals, which are fed back to Path’s database and analyzed for traffic patterns. The resulting data can be measured against digital and direct mail campaigns and assessed to see whether or not such campaigns influenced where customers went once inside the store or mall. Footpath is said to give a “fairly accurate” read of where a cell phone traveled once inside the mall.

With these new big data tools, there’s even greater demand for marketers skilled in data analytics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor states that jobs for market research analysts are projected to grow at 41 percent, a rate much higher than average.


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