This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
CNET News Video: Software tracks shoppers to find stores' hot zones
About Video Comments (0 ) Transcript

CNET News Video: Software tracks shoppers to find stores' hot zones

2:15 /

Startup Prism Skylabs is taking advantage of security camera footage to create "heatmaps" that show where customers linger in stores. Retailers are eager to get a glimpse through this unique window into customer behavior, but how does the technology protect privacy?

-Retailers can't read customers' minds, but a new technology can help them better guess what they're thinking. This is a heatmap of Sunhee Moon. A San Francisco boutique named after its owner. The image was generated by Prism Skylabs' software using video from security cameras. -We can build what we call heatmap, showing you perhaps maybe the areas that customers are standing or we can try to understand product lift, which products are being touched or moved. -By learning where customers linger, businesses can strategically place key products in hotspots. It's definitely colorful on this side of the store and that's a result of this heatmap feature. -Exactly, so we try to keep the customers engaged by color, by items, by prints. -And increased engagement leads to sales. Moon isn't sure how much revenue as a result of the service, but she says it's worth the $50 monthly fee. -I can be in Asia and, you know, look into my store and see how customers are moving through the store, see if the mannequins are working, see if the displays look good. -The software has other features. Timeline shows activity levels helping owners make smart staffing decisions while path maps reveal how customers navigate the store. Prism Skylabs launched last November and like most startups, it isn't divulging much about its customers. It has said that dozens of companies are using its product from small businesses to a large electronics retailer. The company isn't breaking completely new ground. RetailNext also provides heatmaps as well as figures like store visitors per day, and average sales per customer. Though Prism Skylabs sets itself apart in a unique way, which may reassure anyone who finds the thought of being analyzed while shopping creepy. -So we never track, we never identify any people. We can actually cleanly and completely remove people altogether. -And of course, if the technology can read customers' minds, retailers would welcome that, too. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das, cnet.com for CBS News.

New releases

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat...
5:50 20 September 2014
The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack has the muscle car power (and fuel economy) to back up its nostalgic...
Play video
Line up for an iPhone 6, get a...
2:11 20 September 2014
Why do people wait in line for days at Apple stores for the latest iPhones when they could preorder online?...
Play video
3D Pocketcopter crowdfunding soars...
5:13 20 September 2014
This week on Crave it's your last chance to order a Pocketcopter that doesn't exist, run for your lives from...
Play video
Genius hacker Walter O'Brien tells...
3:11 20 September 2014
When Scorpion makes its debut on Monday night, it will bring hacking and computer security to prime time like...
Play video
The hidden features inside iOS...
2:04 20 September 2014
Brian Tong shows you the features inside of iOS 8 that you might not know about.
Play video
The 404 Show 1,554: iPhone 6 launch...
28:45 20 September 2014
Today Bridget Carey tells us how she survived the iPhone 6 launch chaos that unraveled at the flagship Apple...
Play video
Best tablets under $250
2:59 20 September 2014
CNET's top five Android tablets that can be had for less than $250.
Play video
iPhone 6 launch mania: Bigger phones,...
3:00 20 September 2014
The now-annual iPhone launch spectacle seemed different this time around. At Manhattan's marquee Apple Store...
Play video