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The Future Of Shopping: Shelves That Track The Age And Gender Of Passing Customers

Global snack food giant Mondelez is testing "smart" shelves that use Microsoft Kinect technology.

[Image: Flickr user dno1967b]

The ultimate in creepy-yet-inevitable marketing tech has arrived: supermarket shelves that track the age and gender of passing customers.

Supermarket giant Mondelez International, whose portfolio includes iconic brands like Chips Ahoy, Ritz, and Nabisco, is now testing shelves with integrated Microsoft Kinect sensors that determine the age and gender of passing shoppers. Mondelez says they won't record individual data on passing supermarket shoppers, but will use the aggregate information to help tailor marketing campaigns.

Mark Dajani, Mondelez's chief information officer, told the Wall Street Journal's Clint Boulton the experimental shelves were part of a larger push by the global snack manufacturer to integrate sensor tech of the sort found in your smartphone into product research and marketing. Dajani said that other new technologies, such as embedded weight sensors that detect when customers pick up products, could help create precision marketing tools for the supermarket aisle to make sure consumers put chocolate chip cookies in their carts.

Microsoft has been aggressively touting the use of Kinect for retailers. While best known as a gaming tool, Kinect's sensor set allows retailers to inexpensively offer science fiction-like shopping experiences.

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