Metro Group’s Inspiration Store assesses customer experience with EXASolution analytics


In an experiment that took place from October 2014 until January 2015, Metro Group, eBay and PayPal worked together to create a new, multi-channel-store in Weserpark Bremen, Germany, called The Inspiration Store.

By combining an online shopping experience with a fully equipped bricks-and-mortar retail space, the partnership needed a robust, state-of-the-art analytics solution supported by a powerful analytics database engine to examine the effectiveness of this unique, innovative store concept.

With approximately 200sq m of space, visitors to The Inspiration Store could easily walk around the store to examine a wide range of exhibited goods. On large digital shopping screens, so-called shopping  walls, they could then browse a product’s expanded range to view preferences in colour, size, performance etc. The product assortment offered in store changed every two weeks and covered themes such as “a beautiful home”, “technology that inspires” and “fitness and well-being”.

A digital mirror then rounded off the shopping experience. The shop also set new standards when it came to pay; customers could either settle up by using conventional payment methods or by using mobile payments with PayPal directly via an app or QR codes.

The challenge

As a completely new and innovative store concept, the partnership required precise, comprehensive data in order to test the viability of the project and assess the customer experience from the beginning to the end of a customer’s visit. Many questions needed answers, including: what did the visitors think of the store? How many visitors could find the store? How high are the conversion rates and how many visitors would want to return?

As a result, smart visitor counters were installed in order to measure the frequency of shopping onsite and provide insight into the store’s utilisation by its visitors. The entrance to the store was 8 metres wide; it was therefore important to differentiate between visitors that entered and exited the shop.

The installation of sensalytics sensors needed to be installed as unobtrusively and inconspicuously as possible in order to fit in with the modern, relaxed design experience the store wanted to convey.

The solution

The bi-directional infra-red visitor counters from sensalytics were the ideal counting sensors for The Inspiration Store. The counters used were simple in design, battery-operated and transmitted via wireless networks. Affixed to the walls, they ensured that no structural changes to the store were necessary.

A small device was installed behind panels on the wall, and via an additional 3G connection, it would transmit the data to the Sensalytics server. A distance-measuring device was then placed under every shopping basket and trolley in order to measure how often a product was viewed or examined. An inconspicuous wireless tracking device was also installed to measure signals emitted from visitors’ smartphones in order to provide anonymous data that calculated visitor return rates and how long visitors spent looking at products.

The result

Powered by EXASOL’s high-performance analytic in-memory database, EXASolution, the data obtained from sensalytics’s sensors is exceptionally easy to analyse via a web portal, and helps to evaluate the effectiveness of this new type of retail business, as well as its subsequent potential. Together with transactional data, purchase rates can be calculated. The simple export functions offered in sensalytics’s portal make subsequent data processing jobs, such as in Excel, a breeze.

The Inspiration Store

Bremen, Germany

Size:  200sq m

“What do the visitors think of the store? How many customers make purchases in the store and how high is repeat custom? sensalytics has helped us to join various sets of information together so we can understand customer reaction levels better. The installation and usage of the system has been a breeze. Its modern app-design appealed to us straightaway,” said Oliver Breiden, Metro Properties.

Scope of installation:

  • 1 x  infra-red visitor counting package
  • 1 x infra-red distance measuring sensor in order to detect buying hotspots
  • 1 x wireless tracking device in order to calculate visitor return rates

The advantages:

–       Easy to install

–       Bi-directional counting

–       Accurate data

–       Easy access to results

Sensalytics: using EXASolution to boost retail sales with modern analytical insights

Stuttgart, Germany


  • Provide customers with tools to measure and determine their customers’ behaviour down to the smallest detail
  • Manage ever-larger amounts of data
  • Keep maintenance costs for database system as low as possible


  • Database that delivers lightning-fast analytic performance with no data limits
  • Maximum scalability
  • Ability to analyse user behaviour
  • Short communication route to the manufacturer
  • Able to use in-memory database as a service


  • More efficient process flow
  • Better evaluation of campaigns
  • Increased conversions rates