What Can Heat Maps on Customer Activity Do For Your Retail Store?

Online retailers possess an enormous advantage over offline ones in the form of data and insights on their customers experience and preferences. E-commerce sites can track shoppers' every move online, they're able to constantly gauge what we like, what we buy and how we shop. They're able to quickly make adjustments to their products, marketing and pricing, helping increase sales.

This is something that is largely deemed infeasible for offline retail!

Offline retail still accounts for 90.2% of total retail sales in United States and a whopping 97% in India. As e-commerce sites continue to innovate the user experience by using data, why shouldn't your retail store have the same opportunity?

What if the offline retailers could also be as good as online retailers at gleaning data-driven insights on customers to address customer wants better and improve the overall shopping experience?

Heat-Mapping is a technology that allows brick and mortar stores to capture crucial customer data to improve and optimise in-store experience. A heat map, in general sense, is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colours. Using customers positional and temporal data in store, these heat-maps can be used to tell where your customers go in your store, how much time they spend in each area, when does a customer stop to look at a product, how much time a customer spends looking at a product etc.

Heat-map analytics can be used for finding actionable insights about various aspects of business such as:

Understanding Customer Journeys Better

Data on only 15-20% of the actual customer journey is collected in offline retail - mostly the shopping history.

Analyzing customer movement and interaction within stores fills those gaps in the customer journey. For a customer, stores can understand the type of products interest them, products they view but don’t buy, products they view in one visit but buy in another etc. All this leads to the stores addressing the needs and wants of the customer better.

Heatmaps can help retail stores to understand the customer journey better by analyzing how customers move in the store - which sections of the store they visit and how much time they spend there. Analysing these heat maps for customers every time they visit the store yield important insights into their needs and wants.

Building Planograms to Optimize Store Layout

Understanding the traffic flow in a store is essential for optimising the store layout. Using heat-map analytics retailers can identify bottlenecks, dead areas and rearrange the layout to better serve customer needs.

For example, if one section is visited by a less number of customers because it’s off main path, you could rearrange shelves to point people in that direction, revive low-performing areas of the store, and promote cross-selling.

Product Placement Within the Store

By tracking customer movements, you can identify the areas that customers gravitate toward and use that data to inform product placement decisions.

Once you understand which parts of the store are most visited, you can place undersold items there to increase sales. You can also pull desirable items into less busy zones to increase traffic and exposure to areas that might otherwise be ignored.

For example: With the capability to know the amount of time customers spend near specific products and correlate it with purchase data, retailers could implement new conversion strategies to impact change — often simply mobilizing a staff member to personally engage the shopper can be enough to drive a sale.

Monitoring Brand Exposure

Heat-maps analytics can give you insights about how customers engage with your products i.e. the time spent by the consumer looking at the product, number of trials. Analysing a customer’s engagement you can point out the factors that affect the sales. You can monitor the exposure a brand or category gets in terms of customers that lay eyes on them and pick them up.

For example, if a customer looks at a product or two and then walks out of the store, you can catch such anomalies quickly and act to find a solution.

At the same time they can experiment to find the most effective arrangement of products, shelves and departments.

Measuring Effects of Marketing Campaigns

Data from heat maps can be used to measure the performance of your marketing and promotional efforts. By identifying trends in engagement with product displays, merchants can better correlate promotions, displays, and sales.

With such data, you can analyse which in-store promotions prompt visitor to purchase and which ones fall flat. By comparing the results, you can target the customer with the right promotion, maximise your ad budget, and invest in proven campaign strategies.


With heat maps, you can detect where customers visit most and assign a staff accordingly . As traffic patterns begin to emerge, you'll know when to staff up for a peak period or scale down during a quiet time.

For example, retailers can use heat-maps to discover zones that need more staff based on the traffic trends.

Innovations such as heat mapping are working behind the scenes to bring to customers a more streamlined, tailored, and pleasant brick-and-mortar experience.

We hope you found this post informative. Let us know in the comments in case you have any questions.

At Aidetic, we specialize in providing artificial intelligence enabled video analytics solutions. We build customized software for retail analytics, production line management, automated surveillance, and surveying and land mapping. Moreover, we also handcraft unique solutions for our clients' specific use cases. Feel free to write to us at info@aidetic.in to learn if we can help you with your specific use cases.

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