Gaze tracking technology is becoming a very exciting option for providing shopper insights such as how many people walked by a screen or display, how many looked, at what and for how long. This is true progress for the Marketing-at-Retail space, as it opens the door to real-time analytics that allow us to respond according to what works - and what doesn't.
As exciting as this new technology is, there is an active strategic debate around it. Media buyers indeed want this valuable information to help them plan their media exposures within retail stores. However, privacy sensitivity has increased over the years and this new method of tracking may not sit well with them. Do Not Call and Do Not Mail lists are alive and well in many states and DM News has recently been reporting on the proposed Do Not Cookie bill. This points to less - not more - tolerance around personal privacy in other channels.
Should in-store marketers install gaze tracking systems that profile shopper demographics or is it opening Pandora's Box to a privacy backlash?
WireSpring's Bill Gerba contributed a response to the question, as follows:
The collection of the data is fine if a shopper has given consent to be tracked, but the logistics of keeping track of who has agreed and who hasn't in-store are very tough to solve right now, even if you use some kind of token or RFID-based system.
The bigger problem is that retailers have proven more or less inept at data security, so any private information collected is virtually certain not to remain private for long.Retailers can't even keep credit card data safe. Why would we think they could do a better job with an even larger volume of data (and one without any current government oversight or industry regulation a'la PCI, no less)?