Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia - June 6, 2015: Woolworths Store at Commercial Road East Mt Gambier. Customers arrive at the Store to Shop in the Early Evening. Woolworths is the Largest Australian Owned and Operated Supermarket/Grocery Chain in Australia, with over 933 stores throughout Australia.

Woolworths trialed an automated system to track customer numbers in selected Melbourne stores.

Small 3D cameras were placed at store entry and exit points to automatically count the number of people in-store at any one time. The cameras detect people and convert them into blurred spherical shapes (or blobs) for the purposes of counting.

The supermarket giant said individual people cannot be identified in the vision and the footage would only be stored on hardware in each location for a limited period of time.

Customer limits vary by store based on size but customers can check if a queue has been implemented at their local store using the Q-Tracker tool on the Woolworths Australia website.

“The safety of our team and customers is our top priority,” a Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement shared with Retailbiz. 

“We have been doing manual store counts to regulate the number of customers in our stores for many months now.

During the Christmas season, Woolworths used the new technology at store entry points to keep track of customer numbers.

“When the number of customers hit the store’s limit, the team were notified in an app and implemented queuing, just as they did with manual counts. There was no change for customers in their shopping experience, but it freed up time for our team members to focus on front of house service.”