As an entrepreneur you try your best to find out what’s on your customer’s minds. You send them surveys and ask them for suggestions. You might even incentivize their spending through a loyalty program like a discount card or frequent shopper bonus. So, what would you do if someone told you that you could study their behavior by installing cameras in your shop displays?
In an article for The Atlantic, Sidney Fussell exposes how Walgreens has launched “smart coolers” in major cities across the United States. These refrigerated cases can scan your buying behavior as you look upon the selection in a drink case. The author describes this as “new tech that turns your purchases, your movements, even your gaze, into data”. The main purpose of these cases is to figure out if the way a drink company, for instance, markets or displays a product influences the demographics they are targeting.
Fussell goes on to explore the legal implications of using technology that requires facial recognition as it is outlawed in several states. He also points out that this type of “smart cooler” is only one of many emerging technologies that aim to study consumers in their native retail environments.
How long before creative entrepreneurs can afford to use such technology?
Many business publications would have you believe that customer loyalty no longer exists or at least doesn’t exist in the same ways as in past generations. Articles like this 2016 Forbes article questions how to gain customer loyalty in an age where 79% of retail consumers say they would take their business elsewhere over one bad experience. The article goes on to explain that loyalty programs and incentives help to keep consumers on the hook.
There are lots of articles in the media also claiming Millennials are “killing” products, businesses and institutions as we know it. Don’t believe me? Here’s a 2018 list of things Millennials have supposedly “killed”. Instead of villainizing the largest group of working consumers since our Baby Boomer parents, it’s important to understand Millennial buying behavior and how loyalty in the twenty teens might just look a little different. Lu Chen for Forbes explored this concept in 2017 with a piece they did highlighting how to create loyalty among Millennials. The author highlights concepts like emotional impact, frontier technology, and international markets. Maybe instead of saying Millennials are “killing” things we could talk about how industries and trends are changing, like in past generations.
Loyalty still exists; it just looks a little different.