In the 21st century the consumers are considered to be the “kings” of the market. Businesses no longer have a hold over their customers because of the various competition and choices that are now available in the markets. Every business is competing with each other to gain the attention of the public and more importantly their goodwill.
Understanding consumer market trends is probably one of the most important aspects for the success of a business. In order for it to be effective in the market you must know your consumers, what they want and what they are searching for. Knowing the consumers decision-making process can help businesses understand consumer behaviour . The key is to provide customers with what they need.
What businesses are doing today?
So to help business know what exactly their consumers want, brick and mortar stores are collecting extensive data on consumer through the use of security cameras. All the consumers’ need is a mobile phone and a Wi-Fi connection. Consumers assume that online retailers track their every move, however in store shopping consists of the analysis of consumers. (Hardy,2013)
RetailNext is a piece of software that was developed by Alexei Argatchev. The idea popped into his head while he was working on a video security system to catch criminals in casinos, hence he applied the same concept keeping an eye on shoppers and giving businesses a scientific leg up in the rat race in figuring out how best to serve their customers and keep them coming back (Wong, Q. 2015). When analysing major retail outlets we can see that American Apparel, Bloomingdale’s, Mountain High, Mont Blanc , P&G and Swatch are some of the brands incorporating this new piece of technology.
It helps all store systems work as one providing real-time data that can actually be used. Unlike the online world, gathering data and pulling together a complete picture of your customer hasn’t been easy. It gathers in store performance data, analysing, finding and visualising key insights that helps businesses know customer behaviour therefore increasing conversions.
What RetailNext does?
RetailNext combines the power of real-time video, on shelf sensors and other data sources, to automatically let business know how many people enter their store where tye go, what they look at, where they stop and what they buy. This technology helps businesses increase sales, reduces cost and promotes customer loyalty.
This particular photo is a key example of exactly how the RetailNext software functions. The photo clearly shows that the software uses heat sensors to track and identify the areas of the stores that gets the most foot traffic.
The tracking has caused a lot of controversy among shoppers because it is considered as a violation of their privacy. I personally think it’s quite innovative and no different from what online shoppers are doing. Plus all the data that is collected is completely anonymous. To me it’s not about tracking customers, its more about helping businesses respond to their customers needs hence resulting in happy consumers.
Due to the privacy breach of consumers, businesses must seek proper consent. With the implementation of signs, stores can create awareness that consumer tracking may occur or even notifications sent to their phones.In this type of situation, as a consumer I would be more aware of the data collected on my personal buying pattern. Even though, it is not much of a concern for myself, being tracked in stores, it will certainly increase the awareness of other consumers. Other consumers can become aware of the situation and why exactly it’s needed. They will probably be less anxious about it and become more open to the fact.
As a consumer it does not really affect me as the entire purpose of implementing RetailNext is to help understand consumer buying patterns and the needs, likes and wants. As a keen shopper myself, I find this beneficial for my future purchases as organisations will provide me with more accurate information based on my personal needs, wants and likes.
So is the tracking most stores are doing creepy? Nay or Yay
By: Shantel Carter (215172229)
Hardy, Stephanie. “Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell”. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
“Q&A: Retailnext CEO Alexei Agratchev On Using Data To Drive In-Store Sales”. Mercurynews.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.