How Shopify is moving closer to bricks-and-mortar retail

Shopify is edging closer to bricks-and-mortar retail after leaked documents show that it has filed a patent for a system of sensors that can measure traffic in retail store.

The application is further evidence the company is looking to go head-to-head with ecommerce giant Amazon which has expanded its bricks-and-mortar footprint exponentially over the past 12 months.

The filed patent appears similar to the same “Just Walk Out” tech that Amazon has deployed across its grocery stores in the UK.

It was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on May 25, 2020, and published November 25, 2021 and describes a system of sensors that is able to measure the density and behaviour of shoppers in specific areas of a retail store.

The technology could be used to help a store owner determine what it is worth to display certain products in specific locations in the store.

Currently, manufacturers pay “slotting fees” to display products in a store, however the patent application points out that not all locations in the store get the same level of attention from customers visiting.

READ MORE: Meta takes aim at Shopify with leaked shopping plans

“From the perspective of a merchant that is interested in purchasing (or leasing) display space in a retail store, not all regions of the retail store are equally desirable,” the patent application reads.

“Advantageously, traffic density can provide a quantitative, accurate and unbiased metric with which to determine a value associated with displaying products in a region.”

The data could also include the number of shoppers that enter a part of the shop at a certain time, the average amount of time they spend in that area and the number of customers who interact with physical products over a specific time period.

The application was also filed with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office and is currently pending under review.

While Shopify is primarily recognised as being an ecommerce platform, it does have a number of services which give clients the ability to offer an omnichannel experience.

Every Shopify plan comes with POS Lite, which includes mobile and hardware point-of-sale accessories.

The Pro plan includes better features such as inventory-management, buying online and pick up in-store capabilities.

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