retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The other day, MNB took note of a CNet.com report that Tesco is rolling out "eyeball-scanning tech" that will "scan your eyes in its petrol stations. Then while you queue for the till, the screen will show adverts it hopes will appeal to you based on your age and gender … As well as choosing ads based on your age and gender, the screens take into account the time and date, too. So they could show ads for Red Bull and other energy drinks in the morning, then switch to women's magazines if they detect a queue of females. Expect seasonal promotions aplenty, as well as ad-funded branded spots for big events like the World Cup."

One MNB user responded:

As a movie expert, you will probably remember the specifics, but I think it was Tom Cruise’ “Minority Report” that showcased this individualized advertising delivery concept. You have to wonder if this will become common-place in another 10-20 years…

From another reader:

I don't mind so much the idea of literally 'eyeballing' me as a consumer.  I've often thought they would miss the mark by a long shot by guessing what might interest me based on my age and gender.  Thus, what I really fear most is that my cherished notion that I am unique as a shopper will be shattered and they'll nail my drives and desires precisely . . . without even 'knowing' me.

I do think there is a danger is projecting too much based on age and gender and even ethnicity. Perfect example: given a choice, I'd much rather shop at Sur la Table than Home Depot, and Mrs. Content Guy is precisely the opposite. But that's probably not the conclusion that a computer application would reach.

In so many ways, effective marketing is what happens when consumers are appealed to based on their differences, not their similarities. Which is the challenge to every retailer … and why technology is not the answer to such challenges. It's what you do with it that counts.




On the subject of ordering fresh produce online, MNB reader Jeff Gartner wrote:

While I understand the skepticism expressed for fresh produce delivered to one's home, it really comes down to how much you trust the quality of the produce . After all, this is rather similar to those who already subscribe to CSA programs with local farmers. You're trusting the farmer not only with the quality, but also to choose the selection and variety for you.

BTW, I truly enjoy going to our local neighborhood store (a great store) and looking to see what's fresh and available, along with the social benefits from running into friends and neighbors there. So while I'm not a good prospect now for delivery, I understand why others are.


I think you are exactly right about the trust issue. E-commerce ramps up the demands on retailers to be expert, reliable and credible. To think otherwise is to be delusional.




Following up on Monday's "Sports Desk" report about the NYC Marathon winners, one MNB user wrote:

Not to slight Marcel Hug, Ernst Van Dyke, Kurt Fearnley, Masazumi Soejima or Kota Hokinoue - the top five finishers in the men's wheelchair division, who all finished the marathon within 2 seconds of each other - Tatyana McFadden, with her victory in the women's wheelchair race, completed a sweep of winning the Boston, London, Chicago and New York marathons in a single year.

Wow. I didn't realize that.

Thanks for sharing.
KC's View: