Privacy Fears Hit Retailers' Big Data Analytics Plans - InformationWeek

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Data Management // Big Data Analytics
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Privacy Fears Hit Retailers' Big Data Analytics Plans

Brick-and-mortar retailers plan to link in-store analytics with shoppers' mobile devices. Shoppers say not so fast.

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[email protected],
User Rank: Apprentice
2/5/2014 | 4:20:57 PM
Re: On the upside
Like that a lot, Whoopty. Another area of opportunity we analyzed in one of our recent reports on this topic, The Human Bounce Rate (Stratecast report BDA 1-05, November 2013), was that retailers should turn negatives into positives by building retail analytics into promotional strategies centered on exclusive, premium content. For example, shoppers who do not opt out of monitoring for retail analytics data collection purposes get access to deals and content that those who opt out of monitoring do not receive.
[email protected],
User Rank: Apprentice
2/5/2014 | 4:12:29 PM
Re: Conversation between companies and privacy is becoming absurd
Good points, Dan. As you can guess, not every word of our published analysis can make it into print in a media article, but we have addressed both the major points I think you're raising here.

First, we do see far more of a give-and-take dynamic here than others may recognize. In one of our recent reports on this topic, The Human Bounce Rate (Stratecast report BDA 1-05, November 2013), we wrote: "Stratecast notes that it has been proven over the last 100 years that consumers will put up with commercials in exchange for entertainment—principally, on radio and television, more recently, in video, and even at the cinema. Also, any consumer who has ever submitted personal information on a Web site, or filled out a card for a raffle, knows there are points where consumers are more than willing to give away private information in exchange for something of value." One of our key points of analysis in this area is that retailers have been losing what we term The Battleground in the Aisles, where shoppers check out items in the retailer's store and then buy them cheaper online--a phenomenon known in the industry as "showrooming"--or, through the same shop & scan app, can find the same item at another bricks-and-mortar retailer across town.

About possible legislation, and action by watchdog groups, we mentioned efforts led by Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a think tank led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf, which seeks to advance responsible data practices. Another group keeping an eye on privacy is the Wireless Registry, which, roughly, seeks to do for retail analytics what the Do Not Call Registry does re: telemarketing.

Further in the same report we wrote, "Focusing privacy concerns solely on bricks-and-mortar retailers is naïve: if shoppers believe every move they make on an e-tailer's site is not tracked, analyzed, and leveraged for some commercial purpose, they are misinformed. And retailers may do a better job serving customers if they can collect and crunch Big Data to figure out what customers want."

Dan Doyle
Dan Doyle,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/26/2014 | 3:19:45 PM
Conversation between companies and privacy is becoming absurd
  • Who doesn't like the bartender that remembers you and your drink(and maybe tells you your drink will be cheaper in 10 minutes because happy hour starts)?
  • Who doesn't like the waiter that knows the dish you like and how you like to customize it?
  • Who doesn't like a retailer that knows what you like to purchase and suggests promotions that are comparable to what you normally buy?
  • Who doesn't enjoy the extra customer service you get from a technician that knows you and does a little extra to help you out?

These examples generally strengthen my relationship with companies - it doesn't even enter my mind that it is creepy. And just think, all these examples use raditation as a means for recognition like seeing and hearing and sometimes location(direct mail) - although they do not utilize a WiFi signal.

As a final thought, is there a non-digital equivalent for legislation that protects the consumer from employees of retailers to treat consumers always as anonymous? I have never heard of anything like this. Consumers can start and stop their relationship at any time with a retailer by not visiting. Why is it that the consumer has the right to influence a company through means other than the marketplace, like legislation, for reasons that are not about discrimination or protecting public health? Just shop at companies that treat you the way you expect - is it more difficult than that?
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2014 | 11:59:55 AM
On the upside
On the upside, this is a great opportunity for a company to develop an app that blocks all this stuff like the adblock browser extension. 
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