What the Shopper Gets Out of Being Tracked

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.

6 comments about "What the Shopper Gets Out of Being Tracked".
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  1. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, May 28, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.

    Use the information to build real value for the consumer and everyone will be happy. Keep in mind that value is not drawing a straight line to a larger order value via things like re-targeting, but to building a relationship and using the information you gather when appropriate to create a better consumer experience.

  2. Krillion by Local from Local Corporation, May 30, 2014 at 6:37 p.m.

    Chuck, as our research has shown, consumers are using their devices already to aid them in their shopping activities at local brick-and-mortar retailers. This spans a wide range of activities – from researching basic store information and hours and product info to pricing and in-stock availability at local stores, coupons, etc. If retailers can use tracking to better understand what mobile shoppers are already doing to provide additional value to consumers through a more personal shopping experience, without being too intrusive, then it is definitely a win for everyone.

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 30, 2014 at 6:49 p.m.

    Very well said, Ted, a great point about it not being such a straight line.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 30, 2014 at 6:51 p.m.

    Agree, Krillion, it all about the consumer value received. Thanks.

  5. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, May 31, 2014 at 6:45 p.m.

    Thanks Chuck, and kudos to you for being the first MediaPost writer to reply to a comment. I comment all the time, and have even tweeted about how no one here replies. Happy to see you engaging :-)

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 31, 2014 at 9:04 p.m.

    Thanks Ted, we try. Many others do respond, but maybe not to all posts.

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