For many years now, you’ve become accustomed to the notion that retailers track your purchases. “Did you bring your Duane Reade VIP Club Savings Card today?” the clerk will ask in automaton-like fashion in a gambit to see if they can link today’s purchases to your long-term client purchase profile. “If you want those cans of tomatoes at the 3 for $1 price, you’ve got to use your Shop-Rite VIP card,” they’ll tell you. Most people happily hand over their profiling cards without realizing the value of the shopping pattern data they’re also handing over. But now, a study from Remote Sensing Metrics takes this to the next level: they’re watching where you park, before you even make the purchases.
This blog post is a reaction to this story posted on MSNBC on November 24, 2010:
So, be aware that retail systems like BestBuy and Target and Wal-Mart, and every other top-notch information-revolution retailer, are now using satellite data about car parking patterns to predict sales during the so-called “Holiday Shopping Season.” And, they’re not just making predictions about sales, they’re also making predictions about staffing and employee hour requirements.
So, if you want to increase the number of hours you get put on the schedule for during this Holiday Shopping Season, make sure to park your broken down Hooptis and Beaters in the Target parking lot NOW! Target will assume that satellite photos of cars in parking spaces are a valid predictor of Holiday Shopping Season purchasing patterns, which will in turn increase your hours on the schedule.
You just can’t make this stuff up. Retailers are relying on satellite photos of car parking patterns to determine their staffing levels for the next few weeks. Except, maybe, just maybe, those cars parked in the lot have some sort of connection to the people who own and drive them???