Using Heatmapping to Optimize Your Retail Store

Blurred picture of a retail store
Using Heatmapping to Optimize Your Retail Store
by Justin Laswell

Heat mapping is a powerful tool for tracking customer’s preferences and habits. Now, even local retail stores can use this technology to optimize store layout, promos, and product displays—and it’s as simple as installing a special security camera.

Heat maps use security camera footage to analyze which areas of the store get a lot of foot traffic. It can help retail stores observe their customer’s shopping journey, and provide real-time feedback on whether sales and marketing strategies are working.

Use this heat mapping FAQ to find out how you can use this technology in your store, and where to get it.

How does heat mapping work?


Traditional security cameras only record a customer’s movements. Heat mapping cameras analyses body heat to identify the areas where a lot of customers congregate or where they spend a lot of time. High traffic areas show up as orange, pink and red. Low traffic areas show up as blue and green.

Since the customers’ faces aren’t shown, the security cameras do not invade privacy and do not require their prior permission to be recorded.

Blurred picture of a busy retail store

How can I use heat mapping in my retail strategies?

• Identify popular routes. If you know that customers have a tendency to browse through certain aisles, you can put under-sold items there to encourage sales.

• Identify bottlenecks and pain points. Are there areas in the store that get too crowded, and discourage people from browsing? Do people avoid a sales display because it’s too inconvenient or inaccessible, or isn’t part of their natural route? Heat maps can help you experiment with different layouts and see if it makes a difference.

• Observe customer’s reactions to a new product. Now, you don’t have to wait until the monthly or quarterly sales reports to see if a product isn’t selling well. Heat maps will let you know which products draw a lot of attention—and which are gathering dust on the shelves, and don’t even get a second look.

• Improve customer service in high-traffic areas. You can add more sales people or checkout counters to increase satisfaction and speed up transactions.

• Test marketing displays. Find out which types of promotional material get people to stop and look at a product.

• Do A/B testing. Experiment with location and displays and monitor the results to find out whether a product isn’t selling because of its placement in a dead zone, a problem with a marketing display, or a non-store issue like price or brand image.

What are the benefits of heat mapping?

Some technologies are nice to have, but may not give a high return of investment. This can be a problem for small stores that have limited budgets, especially after the economic aftershocks of the pandemic.

Heat mapping is a sensible, practical investment because of its affordable price and the real, practical applications.


It makes shopping a science


Before, store owners could only rely on customer surveys, employee observation and even gut instinct to decipher customer preferences and behavior. Heat mapping now gives you hard data on which to base big business decisions. That means less risk and cost for you, and better shopping experience for your customers.


You can be more proactive


Since the data is given in real-time, you can also spot problems and make changes quickly, instead of waiting for customers to complain (or worse, decide to shop at another store).


It is quick and easy to implement


Once you decide to get heat mapping cameras, you can have the system installed and up and running in a very short time. This is a much quicker turnaround than other marketing strategies, like setting up an e-commerce component or launching a big social media campaign.


It is non-intrusive


Customers won’t even notice the heat mapping cameras, and yet you can gather a lot of important data about their preferences and needs. It is less annoying for them than being asked to fill out a customer survey—which, as we all know, they rarely answer or even honestly answer.


It is low maintenance


Retail store operators and employees have a lot of things to do, and that’s why many marketing and sales campaigns never get off the ground. With daily tasks like viewing inventory or monitoring sales, the task of getting customer feedback often falls through the cracks.

Heat mapping cameras are like hiring an employee whose only job is to watch customers 24/7 and telling you what they like and didn’t like. You don’t have to worry about looking out for dead zones because the cameras do it all for you.


Inquire about heat mapping cameras now


Laswell Security & Automation is Louisville’s trusted home and business security partner. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about heat mapping cameras and how you can use them in your stores. Contact us for more information.

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