Spar International gains customer insights with VisionR

Spar International aims to enable its members to gain more and better insights into customer behaviour. To this end, the franchisor has signed a framework agreement with Irish start-up VisionR. Previously called Glimpse, the company offers an easy-to-install solution to gain shopper insights with its Scout Sensor. 

 Using computer vision and machine learning, Scout analyses shopping behaviour on the sales floor. It deploys facial recognition and algorithms that evaluate movements of customers while they shop. This data is intended to help retailers personalise their customer approach and increase sales. 


Spar retailers in Ireland had tested the system in selected stores to investigate effectiveness of promotions placed at gondola heads. Positive experience from these pilot installations convinced the umbrella organisation to offer the solution internationally. VisionR can support Spar retailers in 48 countries with the solution. 

Benefiting from a data treasure trove in real time 

The Scout module can be installed unobtrusively in the entrance area and at other positions in the store. Other than power, it does not require any cabling. It is connected to a VisionR server via 4G mobile network. The software uses AI to evaluate data from three sources: Camera, mobile phone, and POS data.  

Via integrated camera, the system can classify customers by gender and age.  It recognises how many people are currently in the store, how they move and how they engage with the products. In addition, it analyses the signals from customers’ mobile phones. In this way, the system can record duration and course of the purchase.  Furthermore, it recognises whether the customer is visiting the store for the first time or repeatedly. 

In conjunction with POS data, VisionR software determines key figures such as customer footfall, duration times, conversion rate or demographic information. The retailer can access all evaluations at any time via app or customer portal. This can provide stores with marketing options comparable to those online retailers have. The technology provider affirms that shoppers always remain anonymous and that no personal data is stored. 

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer supports retail and technology companies with consulting and marketing expertise. He was Senior Analyst and Research Director Retail Technology at the London-based analyst group Planet Retail. Prior to that, he was the global marketing director for the retail division of Wincor Nixdorf (now Diebold Nixdorf). Joachim Pinhammer is a regular speaker at events organised by Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop and EuroCIS), the EHI and further industry conferences. His reports are regularly published by trade magazines and online retail industry media.

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