Another way that digitalization could help in in-store sales is through in-store facial recognition. The article “Big Data is Watching” by Sophie Doran has introduced the state-of-the-art method of tracking in-store consumer data by following wi-fi signals and by using surveillance softwares to profile customers. As the article elaborates, Nordstrom’s experiment used video surveillance and signals from shoppers’ cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in various parts of the store and how long they look at merchandise before buying it. Moreover such detailed info would be stored permanently and activate globally through the facial recognition tools. All the data gathered from this “in-store monitoring”, combined with data gathered from digital platform, can provide marketers valuable information about customer preferences so as to guide them to change store layouts and offering more customized services, creating ever satisfying in-store customer experience throughout the world. However, the legal issue has been brought up with it, suspending the experiments in Nordstrom after months. Generally in customers’ minds, personal data is the price they pay online for the ability to quickly compare pricing and arrange convenient delivery. Whereas they feel that this “give to get” mechanism won’t apply when it comes to in-store data collection — When retailers try and collect similar data from consumers in a physical retail environment, they become unnerved, with the key criticism of in-store data collection being lack of consent.
Cerise Miao is an MS candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, majoring in marketing analytics and brand strategy. Majored in economics in college, she is interested in music, movies, languages and fine arts. She has passion for luxury and for data analysis.
Follow Cerise @CeriseMiao