Technology Allows Marketers to Track Consumers’ Shopping Routines

Thanks to mobile technology, marketers can now track where and probably how consumers move from one location to another in a shopping trip.

As illustrated in this MSNBC News video, as soon as a consumer enters the parking lot of a shopping mall, his/her cell phone signal will be recognized by the sensors. Then, this consumer’s whole shopping trip will be recorded. The cell phone users’ personal or demographic information, however, will not be identified by this tracking system.

Such information could be critically important to marketers, and probably the landlords as well, but some people feel that tracking consumers’ shopping routines may violate their rights of privacy. This concern makes sense. If a hacker connects cell phone users’ personal and demographic information with the data of their shopping routines, customers are indeed being watched. Also, it would be quite different if consumers are tracked in a larger neighborhood rather than a mall, such as in a city, and if they are tracked for a week, a month, or 24/7.

In your opinions, what are the benefits of tracking consumers’ shopping routines? What are the potential risks of collecting such information? How may the benefits outweigh the potential risks in this case?


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