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Retail stores move beyond Internet cookies to physical tracking

Cabela's, Benetton, and Mothercare are among national retailers that have tested the idea of tracking people with cellphone signals and video cameras as they shop stores, according to the New York Times.

Cabela's, Benneton, and Mothercare are among national retailers that have tested the idea of tracking customers in their stores using cellphone signals and video cameras, according to the New York Times. Nordstrom has also experimented with the idea, but stopped after some shoppers complained:

Nordstrom’s experiment is part of a movement by retailers to gather data about in-store shoppers’ behavior and moods, using video surveillance and signals from their cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in the candy aisle and how long they look at merchandise before buying it.

But while consumers seem to have no problem with cookies, profiles and other online tools that let e-commerce sites know who they are and how they shop, some bristle at the physical version.

New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford, who co-wrote today's piece, joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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Thanks David and Stephanie for digging into this topic. In my opinion, shoppers are more likely to share personal information with retailers if they receive value in return, but they must retain control of how their personal information is shared. In fact, my company recently commissioned an independent research study that revealed that 47 percent of women would willingly share their mobile phone location with a retailer in return for a $5 credit, and 83 percent would do so for a $25 credit. You can see the full findings here http://www.swirl.com/insights.html

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