2015: Big brother is watching you
Through what kind of channel did you obtain your last purchase? Was it online or offline? It would be interesting to see what the percentages of online vs. offline purchases are. Some of us may favor online shopping because of the great amount of information available about your intended purchase. Others prefer going to a physical store for the service provided by a salesman.
Either way, it is obvious that some retailers have lost customers who switched to online shopping. So what can they do to increase profitability despite this loss? Surveillance cameras might be a step in the right direction.
Now when thinking of surveillance cameras, you most probably expect to read about crime. However, they have another valuable utility. Software enables to track people with the use of multiple surveillance cameras. Here is how it works. The cameras track a person, as he/she is moving around the store. The software breaks down the footage it obtains into components. These components consist of people’s characteristics such as hair color, height, color of their clothes etc. The information produced by the software provides retailers insights on where customers spend most time in the store and which products they are looking at. The software analytics are able to predict the probability of a person moving from one place in a store to another.
The aforementioned results can be a valuable contribution to adjusting the real time in store experience of the customer. Retailers can improve the layout of the store, adapt their product offer, change the way employees provide service to customers and much more. By enhancing customer experience and better adapting to their needs, retailers are able to increase profitability.
As with most topics related to gathering customer data (online), privacy matters are addressed. We are already less in control online. Will this software be another infringement of our privacy? Maybe we simply have to accept the fact that the idea of privacy is transforming. The same way that many other things are, as technology is changing the world we live in.
Do you already feel ‘they’ are watching you? Or will you be more aware of the surveillance cameras now? Is this an acceptable marketing tool or do retailers know too much about you? Personally, I was not aware of this phenomenon, the trade off between privacy and convenience. Perhaps further transparency about this technology and the benefits and drawbacks might help acceptance, what do you think?