In-Store Cameras for Marketing

June 14, 2012

Stores are trying to maximize purchases and are using cameras to do so – find out how your fellow consumers felt about this tactic

Striving to maximize every buying influence in-store—promotions, displays, signs, scents, staff help and more—retailers keep a close eye on the physical movements (even eye movements) and reactions of shoppers. They use signs with embedded cameras that can determine gender and approximate age, and help stores target their efforts to individual customers—all in the quest for bigger baskets.

Shoppers are used to the idea of cameras in and around stores as one way to deter shoplifters. But if shoppers knew that cameras they don’t see watch them for marketing purposes, and that retailers are studying their every move, would they mind? Would they want stores to disclose they do this? Would they feel this invades their privacy? Would they expect a benefit in exchange for being a subject? Here are the results from an exclusive SupermarketGuru Quick Poll.

Here’s what consumers across America had to say:
Forty percent of survey respondents were “not at all” aware of these marketing tactics. Another 45 percent were “somewhat” aware and just 15 percent “extremely” aware.

If they knew their primary supermarket did this, it would affect how many people continue to shop there. Although almost six in ten (58%) would “shop there the same amount,” a significant 28 percent would “warn others about it,” 19 percent would “complain about it” and 19 percent would “shop there only if necessary.” Another 12 percent would “switch stores” and 10 percent would “shop there less.” They were able to give multiple answers on this question, so these numbers aren’t additive.

Three-quarters of consumers would expect benefits from their store. Which ones? Able to give multiple answers here too, 49 percent said “more targeted offers that benefit me,” 48 percent said “lower prices or sharper promotions,” and 42 percent said “more assortments geared to me.” Another 40 percent said “fewer out-of-stocks” and 35 percent said “a more exciting store because of what they learn.”

A large majority (73%) said they would want their primary supermarket to tell them, and a majority feel these practices invade their privacy. They feel so strongly that 60 percent of respondents favor legislative safeguards on the use of this information.

Based on these survey findings, retailers risk consumer pushback in an area many feel is sensitive.

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