What the Shopper Gets Out of Being Tracked

by Net Future Institute on July 9, 2014

By Chuck Martin

Many mobile shoppers are aware they’re being digitally tracked, raising an interesting issue of how marketers should handle the tracking information.

The long-time goal of tracking has been to be able to interact with customers to entice them with more relevant offers based on such things as location and recent past behaviors.

While those offers typically would come in the form of a push notification to a person’s mobile phone, many consumers are concerned that they could be missing out on the unexpected, based on a new study.

The Truth About Shopping study, comprising a survey of 10,000 people in 11 countries by McCann Worldgroup, found that the majority (52%) of consumers find shopping to be too impersonal.

More interestingly, a large number (57%) worry they’ll miss out on discovering new things with marketers showing them only highly targeted offers based on an accumulation of data.

The reality is that tracking data can be very useful for savvy retailers if used beyond push messaging.

An obvious use of tracking data is the monitoring of shopper patterns to facilitate proper in-store staffing and monitor traffic volume by day and time.

And sending push notifications to sales associates could be more valuable than messaging the shopper directly.

The idea that a retailer’s best customer and a valued member of its loyalty program comes into a store and wanders about the same as a casual showrooming shoppers is a lost opportunity.

It turns out that shoppers would welcome such acknowledgement, with most (59%) being open to a store being able to recognize them when they walk through the door, based on the study.

The tracking of consumers all comes down to the tradeoff in value. Most (65%) consumers would be willing to share data if they could see benefit to them, which is consistent with other studies.

While shopper tracking can be done, the ultimate success will depend on how retailers handle the information and what they provide to the consumer in return.


Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


Previous post:

Next post: