How Supermarkets Use Technology To Track Food And You


Shoppers who use cash are far less valuable to supermarkets than those with scores of coupons holding up the line in front of you. Supermarkets and consumer goods companies want to know the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and what type of consumer buys their products. This information is vital to their marketing efforts, but supermarkets also want shoppers to have a positive experience every time they enter the store. Consider how supermarkets use technology to track shoppers and inventory:

Coupons – You have been using paper coupons for years, but technology now allows you to store them electronically. This ensures you won’t forget them at home, and it saves you the time of having to cut them out. Consumer brand websites, such as Procter & Gamble’s, and supermarkets’ websites offer coupons that you can store on your credit card or loyalty card. This also allows them to track which coupons you select, which of those you use, and how often you use them.

Loyalty Cards – Every time you use your loyalty card to get “members only” discounts, you provide supermarkets with additional information that they can use to track your shopping habits. When you originally signed up, you filled out your demographic information and your interests. They tie this information to your purchases and use that data to develop clearer profiles of their shoppers and improve sales. Some supermarkets also have smartphone apps tied to loyalty cards that offer additional discounts.

Sensors – Infrared sensors allow supermarkets to track customer traffic patterns. Placed in aisles, at entrances and exits, and around the perimeter of the store, they track how many items are purchased relative to the number of shoppers that walk by that area. Supermarkets can use this information to determine where to place items, which could help sales and provide data to support the rates they charge companies for product placement.

Scanners – Barcode scanners help supermarkets track inventory as well as pricing information. Employees scan every incoming shipment and scan again when you go through the register, and supermarkets can use that data to determine when purchases were made, the price consumers paid, and how much inventory was lost due to theft or damage.

Just as some technology companies track your Internet activity, supermarkets use technology to better understand your shopping habits and purchasing patterns so that they can optimize the space on their shelves and increase overall sales. If you want to maintain your anonymity at the supermarket, your only hope is to use cash.

This article was written by For more information on the food industry and to order Charleston catering visit

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