Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GPS: Tracking device for children BUT first lets try you with the GPS tracking device for your trolley....

 Sainsbury’s begins trial of “trolley trackers”

Sainsburys240 Sainsbury’s have begun a trial which monitors the shopping habits of customers. Currently only a voluntary system, customers are asked if they would like to participate when they enter the flagship superstore in Crayford, Kent. They are then given a specially equipped trolley and a handheld scanner, which they use while selecting items to purchase. The trolley contains a GPS device which tracks movement around the store. The information gathered is then downloaded after the goods have been paid for. Sainsbury’s are encouraging customers to enter the trial by bribing them with vouchers and discounts. The company hopes to use the information to help plan decisions on the layout of stores and the positioning of products.

Although this seems relatively benign, it has some potentially worrying consequences. If successful, the system may stop being voluntary, and be introduced throughout all stores. Currently, customers can choose whether to use a loyalty card which tracks purchases, and opt-out if they prefer not to. This system will give the company even more information about consumer habits, allowing more targeted, potentially unwanted marketing to be sent out to shoppers. It will also keep records of any purchases from the in-store pharmacy, which may be private and confidential.

If the “trolley tracker” system is to be rolled out throughout England, it should remain completely voluntary, to allow customers shopping habits to be anonymous and avoid receiving additional unwanted marketing.