Retailers Use Cell Phone Tracking To Enhance Their Marketing Strategies

Without a doubt, consumers are more connected than ever before. The smartphone has replaced feature phones of old, as we strive to remain connected at all times. In our desire to be always on, some care more about downloading the latest app than the information shared with others. Retailers are taking note and looking to grab your attention.


Photo Credit: Telegraph Media Group Limited


There are some retailers already making strides in the mobile marketplace. Amazon was among the first large retailers to simplify the mobile shopping experience. Soon enough brick-and-mortar stores were making their debut in the mobile space. A simple search on the term shopping in the Android Market reveals apps for stores such as Walmart, Target, The Home Depot and more of the stores we see out and about in our daily lives. Retailers have also taken note of the social aspect of connected consumers, building into their apps the ability to share the deals and products you find of interest with your friends through popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


Perhaps, you have chosen to stay away from apps created by the big name stores and have opted instead for an app to enhance your ability to shop for the best deal. Apps like Discount Calculator and Price Spy allow you to check how good a deal you are getting when considering a purchase and compare the price of an item against prices at other retailers. Even a simple bar coder app like ShopSavvy allows consumers to find the best deal for their money. Even these apps, independent of the big name retailers, collect information on your shopping habits creating a data miner’s paradise.


Retailers are becoming increasingly more aware of our mobile shopping habits and are looking for new solutions to take advantage of our connectivity to boost their sales. Ars Technica, in an article yesterday, brought to light the latest strategy retailers are considering to help better target their marketing efforts to connected consumers.


Footpath, developed by Path Intelligence based in London, England, uses monitoring units to track cell phone traffic within a store. The units track the strength of cell signals to triangulate consumer location. This information can be used to determine the effectiveness of product placement and how stores can allocate their advertising dollars for the best return. The first trials of this marketing tool begin today in Temecula, California at Promenade Temecula and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia.


The information collected by the Footpath monitoring units is analyzed by Path Intelligence and transmitted back to retailers through a secure website. Assurances have been made to retailers that these monitors are not collecting personal data; however, privacy is certainly a concern. One aspect to consider is use of Footpath in conjunction with other technology solutions. Something as simple as closed circuit video surveillance combined with Footpath is enough to narrow consumer activities to ease in identifying individual consumer information and practices.


As retailers become more adept in navigate the mobile consumer marketplace, one has to wonder how much is too much to share to ensure you are getting a good deal?



Source: Ars Technica – We’re watching: malls track shopper’s cell phone signals to gather marketing data by Sean Gallagher, November 26, 2011

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