Shopperception – somewhat Orwellian shopper tracking for stores


Shel Israel and Robert Scoble are writing a book on the coming “convergence of five forces: mobile, social media, Big Data, sensors and location to create an entirely new technology era, one in which context will shape business, marketing, advertising” and more. These changes will be all pervasive and Orwellian in the sense that you will be monitored and tracked all the time. Shopperception is a prime example of this.

The sensors will see when a shopper picks up a particular box, seems to be reading ingredients and whether they buy or return the package. It can tell where in a section customers interact the most often.

As they reach for a particular cereal—or even just look at it—a display iPad—makes a special promotional offer, either for the box being vied or a competitive offering. To get the deal, all the customer has to do is toss it into her or his shopping cart, and the cash register will automatically adjust the price.

If you belong to a loyalty program at the store, it will know who you are when you walk in the door, assuming you have your mobile phone turned on. It can then tailor messages to you by, say, texting that your favorite bread is on sale in aisle 10.

Scoble and I think Shopperception is a preview of coming attractions. It provides a situation where all parties win including the customer. We believe that in the Age of Context there will be a great many more products and services that allow sellers to understand what buyers want and to be able to give it to them.

Shopperception says they take privacy seriously and you can opt out. However, once this technology goes mainstream (and it will) then others, including law enforcement, government, and hackers will be much less concerned with such niceties. Hmm.