The maker of Cadbury chocolate, Oreo cookies and Trident gum is developing “smart” store shelves that use sensor technology to personalize, and therefore encourage, the pleasure-seeking impulse purchases that drive sales of those products.
The company in question? Mondelēz International, parent company of a number of grocery store fixtures, from Mikado biscuit sticks to triangular Toblerone chocolate. The project? Sensor-laden display units located by checkout counters.
The “smart” shelves will use technology based on Microsoft’s gesture-based Kinect for Windows to be able to “identify the age and sex of the would-be snacker,” reports the Wall Street Journal‘s Clint Boulton, then use “analytics to determine what type of guilty pleasure best appeals.” A video display will deliver personalized (relatively speaking, that is) advertisements.
The shelves are a novel response to a time when the average consumer, under economic duress, is more often resisting his or her impulses at checkout. If technology can help the company’s products resonate better with shoppers, they’ll be more likely to give in to the (sweet, salty, savory) impulses they already have.