Retailers are pushing the boundaries of in-store Wi-Fi and camera surveillance to capture data about their shoppers. Wi-Fi signal tracking and facial analysis helps stores monitor their consumer’s behavior and movement to evaluate, and more importantly enhance, the in-store shopping experience. How might they enhance the customer experience? Quite simply. If a customer’s phone is automatically set to search for Wi-Fi networks in the area, a retailer can pick up the phone’s unique ID code. This technology allows the store to track the customer’s journey (within a 10 foot radius). Many stores have begun to capitalize on this technology by creating branded apps. Although the shopper voluntarily enters their personal information, stores are able to track and target them based on location. If the customer is wandering around the shoe department, the app recognizes their location and can then send them coupons for shoes. Retailers rolling out this technology have experienced mixed reviews. Some stores have reported increased efficiency and optimization of their floor plans while others have received customer complaints about violating their privacy.
What sparks our fire: Relying on technology to better understand the customer’s shopping experience.
How do we draw the line between enhancing the in-store experience and invasion of privacy?