There are different ways to track consumer behavior towards shopping. Retailers have gone beyond loyalty cards and registrations and have expanded their tracking strategy to monitoring web cookies, device apps, and heat detection.
The most-awaited holiday season is just around the corner and as expected; many are already set to go shopping and as many will have a good excuse to spend big on shopping, marketers are now contemplating on what they can offer best. To give them answers, several inventions that track the shopper behavior of consumers in the malls and on the net are being utilized.
Data collected can be associated with the subject's personal stuff like their income and even with their car insurances. According to retailers, this method can be of great help in modifying shopping experiences and lead to good deals with consumers.
Consumer advocates, however, say that insistent tracking and profiling could also have disadvantages. It could lead to price discrimination, with companies overcharging online products or denying them based on their home price of how they often visit a site.
Jeff Chester, executive director at the Center for Digital Democracy, told ABC News, "You can't have Christmas any more without big data and marketers. You know that song where Santa knows when you've been sleeping? He knows when you're awake? Believe me, that's where he's getting his information from."
Unknown to many, consumer tracking has long been practiced in the U.S. Consumerism such as signing up for loyalty cards and registering purchased items for warranty programs.
Online stores and advertising services use "cookies" – a tiny piece of data sent from the web and stored in the browser that collects important information about the user – to look at consumers and present them with pertinent pop-up ads.
Lately, marketers have developed a more stylish way to merge offline and online information that will generate more detailed profiles of consumers. Marketers are also thinking to make this location-tracking technology as a way of drawing more customers and swaying consumers as they roam around the mall.
With this new technology, e-commerce stores like Target and Amazon.com are now creating their own mobile applications and offering in-store Wi-Fi. Through the mobile app, customers are lured with promotional offers or ads as they move inside the store.
To shoppers who agree to be tracked will not just get offers and see ads, they will surely get a good deal.
Snapette, a location-based shopping mobile app, mixes addiction to social media sites with location technology. With the app, consumers, particularly women, can have an idea what accessories or shoes are in-style in their neighborhood, because retail stores can take the opportunity to attract shoppers with ads or coupons.
Never think that these tracking technologies are optional because some stores are equipped with heat sensors or devices monitoring cellphone signals to see which rack attract the most attention. Some of those stores use "Shopperception," a motion detection technology that tracks a customer technology.