In-store analytics: tracking real-world customers just like online shoppers
A big advantage for online retailers compared to brick-and-mortar retailers is that they see exactly what their costumers do on their site. For example, the online retailers can see which products costumers have considered before they bought something. Brick-and-mortar retailers are now looking for more sophisticated ways to understand customer buying behaviour and want to take advantage of tempting insights from technology and data analytics (Techrader, 2015).
One of the ways to do this is by tracking customers with Wi-Fi hotspots and surveillance video cameras. The combining data gathered by those two technics creates detailed information of customer behaviour going into, and moving around the store. This data will be brought together with sales systems and transactions data to “build a picture of how well a store front serves to bring customers in, where shoppers go within the store, whether the layout makes browsing easy, if checkout queues are losing customers and other insights into customer shopping habits and needs” (Techradar, 2015). People do not need to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot of a location to obtain the location data. When you leave your Wi-Fi connection active, your phone will effectively leave a digital footprint, his MAC-address. By adding the content from the cameras, the information becomes more granular and detailed (like making gender and age profiles). But also reactions and emotions of shoppers can be tracked. This is off course very useful information for a store to decide were to place specific products or how customers experience the sales force.
What do you think, will this be a big thing in about 3 years? And is this even possible with the current privacy laws? Is there a possibility that shops will lose customers by implementing this technology in their stores? Maybe people will accept this because they are used to being tracked on the internet and they do not care anymore.