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Tracking shopping behaviour in brick and mortar stores with Google Analytics and smart electronic paper displays

Visionect, 5 Feb 2014

Ever wondered if you could track customer behavior in your brick and mortar store in the same way you can on your website? You can: all you need is a store, some items with spec sheets (think mobile phones, white goods, TVs, etc), Visionect’s e-paper platform and Google Analytics.

Tracking the popularity of the phones in brick and mortar store in real time with Google Analytics.

Ever wondered if you could track customer interest similar to what you do on your website/store? Well it turns out you actually can. All you need is a store, some items with spec sheets (think mobile phones, white goods, TVs, etc), Visionect e-paper Platform (V-Platform) and Google Analytics. Our V-Platform provides an off-the-shelf solution that connects the Web (and Google Analytics) with our e-paper devices, so we were only missing a customer that was genuinely interested in figuring out what are the items that are currently being sought after by people visiting their stores.

Displaying information about the mobile phones offered on e-paper tablets.

Telekom Slovenije, largest Slovenian telecommunications company, approached us if we could help them solve the issue of displaying information about their mobile phones to their customers. They always had an issue of keeping all the technical data, and more importantly all the prices in sync across all of their stores. Customers were touching the phones and checking the specs which were sometimes misprinted or out of date.

To solve this issue we developed a web application (actually based on the great Django framework) which enabled Telekom Slovenije to import data from their existing data sources (their web pages – which are always up to date) and display that data on our Visionect V-Tablet devices. Our V-Platfrom provided the glue between the physical (devices) and virtual (Internet) world. On the opening day of their new store (on Pogačarjev trg) we deployed Visionect V-Tablet e-paper devices next to a plethora of Samsung, Sony, LG and Nokia offerings – with a centralized system ready to go.

Always accurate and updated information available on our V-tablets.

But this is only a part of the puzzle – the specs were great, but could we do even better? We needed to provide them with a solution that would enable them to track the popularity of the phones, preferably in real time. We bounced some ideas about developing custom statistics system based on interactivity (counting clicks), but this being the V-Platform, there actually was no need to go and reinvent the wheel. We picked the most widespread analytics solution for regular web pages/apps – Google Analytics – and worked with that.

Tracking interest in real time with Google Analytics.

We created a couple of custom events in Google Analytics and hooked them up to JavaScript events, that occur when a person is in store browsing specs of a certain phone. Some configuration and testing and we were all set. Telekom Slovenije now has the option to track interest in real time by opening the Real-Time tab in Google Analytics. Answer to what’s hotter right now – the new iPhone or the new Galaxy – is just a click away.

Header photo: used by permission from Telekom Slovenije, author: Filip Djurić Other photos: Aleksandar Domitrica