Data About Not Shopping

Retailers have information systems in place to capture and analyse data about our shopping purchases, however, Ken Davies (2015) reporting from the Omnichannel Summit, announced that “80% of shoppers leave a bricks and mortar retail outlet without buying anything”.   Retailers therefore need information systems to capture data about the times when we go into a store and leave without making a purchase.

Shopping as a Leisure Activity

The modern shopping centre has become established as a place to go for a day out.  It offers a comfortable environment away from the weather and provides space to wander and meet with friends.  Retailers need customers to buy their products, but visitors to shopping centres are browsing rather than buying.

While shopping online is booming, it is becoming more important for retailers to tempt shoppers in store to encourage additional spending.  Approaches to improve the in-store customer experience are discussed here:

Analysis of sales data, customer loyalty data and promotions management data provide a wealth of information to retailers about the products customers are buying.  But with so many potential customers entering stores and leaving without making a purchase, retailers need more information to understand what is happening.

The Fuit App

The Fuit app provides a means of capturing data about products that a customer is interested in, but has not purchased.  Shoppers wander around a shopping centre and scan the barcode on items that they see in a store that they would like to win.  The app enables retailers to capture data about the route shoppers took around the centre, the time they were in different stores and items that they would like to win.  Lucky shoppers may win an item they have scanned, courtesy of Fuit.

The Value of the Data

The data captured through the Fuit app needs to be carefully considered by retailers as different shoppers will adopt different strategies for using the app.   Some shoppers may scan products that they are thinking of purchasing, whilst other shoppers may deliberately scan products that are out of their price range or products that they would never seriously consider purchasing; other shoppers may scan everything in sight with a view to selling the item if they win something that they do not want.

Technology provides the means to capture immense volumes of data but retailers need to consider how they may use the data about not shopping to inform decision making.  An initial excitement accompanies the ability to capture new data about an activity but as the novelty wears off for shoppers using the app, retailers may be left wondering what they can learn from the data about not shopping.   For example, if shoppers scan items that they have no intention of purchasing it, any follow-up marketing initiatives by the retailer acting on the data will in effective.

The acceptance of using apps in different contexts provides extensive opportunities to capture individual data about human behaviour, but the use of technology and the incentives offered to use the technology can also change our behaviour.  The information that can be derived from the use of apps therefore needs to be considered within the context of the complexity of human behaviour and the impact of incentives on behaviour.


Further Reading: Data capture is discussed in Chapter 3.


The full article by Ken Davies is available here:


Please use the following to reference this blog post in your own work:

Cox, S. A., (2015), ‘Data About Not Shopping’, 20 February 2015,, [Date accessed: dd:mm:yy]


© 2014 Sharon A Cox