From the minute you enter a mall or shopping mart, you are being watched. And everyone of us is aware of this. Our every move, every action is being monitored by cameras. However, some retailers have taken this spying thing to another level. Development in technology has introduced new methods of spying on the customers. Here, we’ll discuss five types of customer spying techniques adopted by retailers.
- Spy Cams
These high-resolution cameras cover every area from the parking lot to the inner part of the mall. And, no, the footage doesn’t just go away, it’s stored and indexed for further scrutinization. The retailers hide these gaze trackers in small holes of shelves to detect what brands you are looking at. Though it sounds creepy, some dummies are stationed to detect your age, ethnicity, facial expressions and sex.
- Personalized advertising
Monitors flashing video ads attract customers. A tiny pinhole camera is built on the monitor which looks right back at you while you’re trying to see the ad that’s running on the screen. Usually, it consists of a face detection system to determine your ethnicity, age group, sex and your mood. The Radio-frequency detection tags are placed on merchandise to sense when a customer picks up an item.
- Smartphone tracking
The easiest way to track someone’s route is the smartphone since this is the only common thing that can be found in anyone’s pocket. So, malls and retailers have started to monitor the visitors’ mobile phone signals which facilitate the creation of “heat maps.” It glows red in the area which has the most traffic. This helps the staff to determine where to put up ads, displays and high-rated merchandise.
- Return rewards
For years, stores and malls have been tracking and monitoring exchanges and return to prevent loss by identifying fraudulent people. Nowadays, malls and stores have been rewarding 99 per cent, honest customers. For example, customers are awarded $10 off or 20% discount on specific items for encouraging them to fork out the refund in their store. However, this reward is usually valid only for 1-2 hours. So, either you go for it or lose the offer. ShopSmart says the offer is aimed at serving the need of the retailer.
- Motion detectors
Shopping malls and marts use motion detectors to track the customers’ movement. It’s used by many retailers in malls and supermarkets. This helps them to provide their customers with a better experience, says the New York Times. These detectors are so small that you cannot even feel their presence, but they are tracing your movement throughout the mall.
Now all of us are used to be under surveillance in malls and marts. For some people, this concept is creepy, whereas for others it’s not a big deal. However, the information collected by spying should not be used in a way that harms the privacy of a person.