StorefrontBacktalk: Mobile Tracking At The Mall – The CRM Potential Is Stunning
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from StorefrontBacktalk, a site tracking retail technology, e-commerce and mobile commerce.
When a major Australian shopping mall next month starts tracking consumers by their mobile phones, they will try and pacify privacy advocates by stressing that no customer names nor phone numbers will be given to retailers. Truth be told, the tracking information that they will collect will be far more valuable.
The shopping center, which will reportedly remain unknown until the system is up and running, will obtain fit receivers that track shopper’s locations within two meters by identifying unique mobile phone radio frequency codes.
According to a report in Australia’s Courier-Mail, the vendor behind the trial, a U.K. firm called Path Intelligence, pledged that "no mobile phone user names or numbers could be accessed" and that "all we do is log the movement of a phone around an area and aggregate this to provide trend data for businesses."
But what if that phone-tracking data is linked with security cameras and/or POS systems? What if a mall representative called one of its retail residents and said, "We’re now tracking a woman who has spent $980 in the last hour and she has just walked into your store. For a $300 fee, I’ll tell you exactly where she’s standing right now. Deal?"
The idea of tracking consumers via phones is not new, but this is the largest scale trial we have seen.
Mobile, in one form or another, is at the heart of — depending on your perspective — huge data-collection advances or huge privacy disasters. Typically, it’s nice on its own. But when mobile data is layered on top of other real-time data sources, the new information potential grows exponentially. Consider the Carnegie-Mellon University study about mobile interacting with facial recognition or the plan to use mobile, security cameras, POS and license plates to create the perfect retail CRM system.
At its most innocuous, the systems could theoretically do little more than count shoppers and track their movement from store to store. But that’s hardly going to motivate chains to pay a lot for such data. If, however, the system collected data about what these customers did in those stores and tracked each customer over time, this effort gets much more compelling.
- Mobile Tracking At The Mall: The CRM Potential Is Stunning – StorefrontBacktalk
- New technology means shopping centres will monitor customer’s mobile phones to track visits and stores you enter – Courier Mail
Discussion Questions: How much value will mobile-data tracking offer to retailers? Will consumers see value in its use also?