Beginning in 2015, “retail surveillance” could become very common in grocery stores.
Mondelez, the company that owns many major food brands like Chips Ahoy and Ritz, has developed high-tech shelves with built-in cameras. The cameras will be watching as you shop to “gather intelligence.”
This “intelligence” will include basic information like your age and sex.
The idea is to figure out which types of people tend to buy different brands and food products. This way, the company can better market its products to various segments of the population.
A large database will eventually be built with all of the collected information about grocery store customers’ preferences, organized by age and sex.
At this time, Mondelez is the only company that has confirmed plans to move forward with retail surveillance. If it proves to be a valuable marketing technique, however, it is likely that many others will follow in its path.
Do you think retail surveillance violates our privacy?
On one hand, grocery stores and Mondelez are private companies so they can do whatever they want. If you do not feel comfortable with retail surveillance, you can simply choose not to shop at the stores that use it.
On the other hand, however, retail surveillance (if proven to be a valuable marketing tool) could become so prevalent that it is eventually used in almost all grocery stores. This would leave shoppers with very little choice.