Is In-Store Tracking Creepy?

Some brick-and-mortar retailers are tracking consumers’ movements and activities in the physical world, just like their digital counterparts do online. But online tracking already makes some consumers feel uncomfortable, and to these people real world tracking will appear downright creepy. So are they right to fear this tech? Or should they try to embrace it?

Online stores experience some significant advantages over their brick-and-mortar competitors. Along with cheaper rent, 24/7 sales, and instantaneous customer feedback, digital stores also benefit from consumer analytics. Because many online stores are able to track a customer’s online activity, they are able to make quick adjustments to their products, marketing strategy, and pricing. And this can have a big effect on sales.

Though still favoured by 85 percent of consumers, brick-and-mortar stores are looking for ways to combat this “informational advantage”.

Prism Skylabs create high-tech in-store heat maps using a store’s existing security cameras. This data is then translated onto a dashboard so that store managers can see which areas of the shop are getting the most attention, how consumers typically navigate the store, how many consumers enter the shop and when, their average dwell time, and more.

Prism promises that their web-style analytics will take the guesswork out of decision-making and, in turn, allow stores to be optimised in line with consumer preferences.

Whilst many who place a high value on their privacy may be worried about these developments, they will also receive some benefits. Because stores will be able to keep a keen eye on what’s working and what isn’t, consumers can expect to receive a better service, better products, and better in-store experiences. What’s more, in-store analytics data is often anonymised, faces are made indistinguishable in images, and in store analytics collect less information than web analytics.

So, do you think in-store analytics is creepy? Or do you think that companies will use data responsibly and fairly?

Let me know your thoughts.

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