Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Coming To A Store Near You....Retail Surveillance

We already know that grocery stores use loyalty card programs, such as CVS ExtraCare, to keep tabs on what you buy. This helps them market more effectively, and facilitate coupon distribution, I assume. In fact, last weekend, I pulled up my CVS account to review their weekly ad and it showed me what I had bought in the last 6 to 18 months. Pretty crazy, but since it was highlighting current sales on these products, it was also useful for shopping planning.

I have been willing to give up some privacy to this end for as long as store cards have existed. However, I am not sure about this new idea. According to a Fox 5 News Report, the company that owns Chips Ahoy and other brands, Nabisco, wants to take their market research a step further.

What the story called "grocery spying" is just that. Now, when you shop at a store that has been equipped with this technology, it will record who is buying the product, tracking demographics such as sex, age, and products purchased to better target you. The story didn't say if Nabisco, or the affiliated store selling to you, would offer a coupon for your loss of privacy. I hope there'd be some benefit offered then. Otherwise, if you don't want to be spied on, shield yourself or buy an alternative product instead.

2015, the year this supposed technology will be introduced, is still a little ways off. Time will tell if consumers accept this intrusion if they perceive benefit. Otherwise, this, and other grocery store innovations, such as self-checkout, may not take off.