Hannaford Supermarkets has come up with a novel way to find out what customers like and how they shop.
Electronic trackers on carts and baskets do the job for them.
The Maine-based grocer installed the gray, square appliances on baskets and carts in select stores this summer. According to the grocer, the units are designed to help improve the overall shopping experience.
“This helps us to learn more about the flow of buyers in our stores,” said Hannaford spokeswoman Ericka Dodge via email. “The information can then help us to make shops better and more convenient for our buyers.”
The company said the tracking system is being used “in a handful of stores in our market area.” How many of the more than 180 branches will be included in the program was not stated.
The cart and cart-based trackers do not know the identity of the customers. They also don’t compare customer locations to checkout credit card purchases, Dodge said.
“To be clear, no customer data is collected,” she said. “It’s about the path / route the carts take. This kind of intelligence is quite common among retailers. “
It is not clear whether Hannaford informed customers about this program. As of this week, they were in action at the store in Dover, NH. There was no obvious signage explaining the units or their purpose.
A Somersworth Market Basket manager said his store does not use this type of customer tracking device for its shopping carts. He is not aware of any similar tracking program in a Market Basket transaction.