How new technology is delivering deeper shopper insights

Jo Bowman

Virtual reality stores, online communities and biometric monitoring are helping brands and retailers understand shoppers, test original concepts and roll out new ideas at an unprecedented speed.

That was one of the main themes emerging from The International Shopper Insights in Action Event, a three-day conference held in Prague in November 2013. Respective case studies from Debenhams, the British department store chain, and GlaxoSmithKline, the pharma and consumer products giant, particularly served to bring this point to life.

Debenhams builds a community

An online community managed by Debenhams is currently being used to track purchase behaviour, collect customer feedback and monitor emerging trends, all of which assists in solving problems and developing new products. Caroline Pollard, a customer strategy and insight analyst at the company, reported that this digital hub, called Design Team, was launched in 2009 and has since built up 15,000 members, with about 400 people joining each month.