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This is how customers are monitored in stores

This is how customers are monitored in stores

It's no news that it pays for businesses to know as much as possible about their customers. Cookies and other website data make it relatively easy to track what Internet users are interested in, what they view, and what they buy online.

But companies don’t just track their potential customers online. Even in brick-and-mortar retail, today’s retailers are trying to gather as much information about their customers as possible in order to increase their sales.

Customer traffic patterns are analyzed.

The simplest way to do this is by so-called frequency measurement. For this purpose, light barriers and sensors are used at the entrance or inside the store.

“I can fit an entire store with it and measure how people move around, where they stay and how long they stay,” he explains. Oliver NitzHead of Marketing at the Agency Destination Management Systemin conversation with Courier.

DMS offers this technology to businesses. For example, if a food retail chain wants to develop a new layout for a supermarket based on traffic patterns and data about their customers’ shopping carts.

Age and gender are checked.

While frequency measurement in this country only measures the number of customers and their movement, customer analysis continues in other European countries..

In the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, for example, some companies use modern camera technology that scans each customer to determine their age and gender using modern technology. In this way, companies can better narrow down their target group and adapt their product range accordingly.

But that's not all: in stores equipped with displays instead of classic posters, the advertising displayed there can be adapted in real time to the current situation and customers.

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For example, women's clothing is only displayed when there are mainly women in the store, or umbrella ads are displayed when it suddenly starts to rain outside.

GPS data is tracked.

But retailers can track their customers beyond their business premises. Smartphone GPS data can be used to track where people who shop in the store have been before and where they go next.

In this way, it is also possible to determine where the average customer of the store resides. Along with socio-economic data, such as who Consumer Research Association, agencies can analyze median household income and purchasing power.

This analysis method is also used in Austria. The company Meaning of placewhich works with DMS, purchases GPS data from app operators, who collect their location data with users' consent.

Free apps collect data.

Most of them are free apps that are funded by selling this data. Smartphone manufacturers apple, Samsung And Google When KURIER asked them, they themselves stated that they do not collect any of their users' data to sell it for marketing purposes.

“We understand very well who the people who shop in a store are, what their purchasing power is or what age group they belong to,” he says. Jan BarenhoffDACH Manager at Placesense, KURIER.

He stresses that the data Placesense receives from app operators “is always statistically aggregated information and no conclusions can be drawn about individuals.”

Data protection advocates are skeptical.

These analysis methods are not without controversy in relation to data protection law. Pure frequency measurement degrees Martin Bowman From the Data Protection Organization Nuwaib Also no problem.

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The lawyer describes the collection and analysis of GPS data for marketing purposes as “very problematic”, but he also sees the problem as the app operators. “I am already very critical of the origin of the data here,” Baumann tells KURIER.

Even if the data is ultimately anonymized, it has been pre-processed using personal references. “The company that collects this data can assess the flow of people’s movements and that is sensitive,” Baumann continued.

Jacob KalinaData Protection Expert at Chamber of Commerce in Viennacompares analysis methods with online cookies.

“MThese analysis methods can be compared to cookies, although there is a legal difference. “On the Internet, the person concerned has a real advantage because he has the option to only allow technically necessary cookies,” Kalina tells KURIER.