Retailing Consortium Launches PRISM To Collect Data On Shoppers' Behavior

A consortium of retailers and consumer suppliers are working with Nielsen Co., famous for its nonsensical television ratings system, to launch a large-scale study of consumer behavior in stores. The program is called PRISM, which stands for “Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric,” and it uses infrared sensors and manual counting, as well as genetic clones of our loved ones, to monitor not just what we buy but how we go about buying it. “About 70% of final purchase decision are made at the shelf,” says a Procter & Gamble rep. “The store has always been important – we just didn’t know enough about it.”

Some early findings:

Only 13% of food shopping trips are with kids but shoppers put more in their baskets overall when kids are with them. But the presence of kids in a shopping trip didn’t have any effect on candy sales.

The article says that Nielsen plans on syndicating and selling the data to non-participating businesses in the next year, and that PRISM in the future may be used to help plan store layouts. We thought they’d been doing that for years—we remember reading an article back in, like, ’93 or ’94 about the science behind shopping mall layouts (it was in “The Atlantic” maybe?). But apparently Nielsen has managed to convince retailers that the data they collect is valid, so, um, good luck with that.

“Consumer Companies Look For Insights On Shoppers’ Behavior” [CNN Money]
(Photo: Getty)

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