“Malls plan to track shopper locations through cell phones on Black Friday”
We know cell phones now come with tracking devices, but who knew they would be used for understanding shopping patterns in malls. Trying not to get to much into conspiracy theory, but do you think that’s really all they are doing?
“[… I]t’s unlikely that customers will turn off their main device for communication and busy shoppers may miss the notifications posted within the mall.” Well, at least we know they’re really trying to get the word out there. We can probably guess why they aren’t making to big of a deal about it. In order to gather the information they need people to keep their phones on, and researchers can get away with saying they had “notifications posted within the mall.”
Anyway the point of this entry wasn’t to get into the privacy issue behind it all. It was instead to start thinking about the future. Could you imagine, what it would be like if you walk by your favorite store and you get a text that qualifies you for 20% off? Yeah, I’d be broke!
The article says it can’t really pinpoint exact locations, just the general vicinity of the mall. And while we wouldn’t want our cellphones to be going off with thousands of texts from the stores you pass, it would still be cool if they figured out a system. I’m thinking, you sign up for your stores online, then when you walk by, it tracks and delivers. Crazy right, but all so possible now with tracking systems.
For customers it could trigger all kinds of responses. Depending on the type of coupon it can have the scarcity effect. So, if they don’t use the offer right then and there it won’t be valid next time. Also, if offers are sent out randomly, it feels more like gambling. Customers never know when they will receive deals, so they feel more pressure to use them when they do get them. I can imagine the amount of dissonance that is going to occur when you go to the mall not planning on buying anything. Your phone vibrates and its a 30% off offer to your favorite store. What do you do? You might as well go look since you’re already in the store, right?
But that really is the best part. You’re not simply receiving coupons when you don’t need them and you don’t have to worry about going to the store before they expire. It all happens right as you walk into the mall. Could be a nice set-up for whoever gets it going…