Saturday

A Practical Side Of Creepy Data Gathering

If we stopped to consider it, many of us - myself included - might be annoyed or even outraged about how much information is being gathered from us as part of our modern Western lifestyle. The use of credit cards, smart phones, computers and the like has made it possible for websites and brick and mortar stores to develop and maintain valuable data on our purchasing habits and so on. 

Sellers love repeat customers, they understandably like and want to have a customer base. This is the main reason stores issue coupons; it's a good way to nudge customers back to that store if they can save a few dollars here and there. All this data gathering has allowed businesses to come up with coupons and offers tailored to individual customers, which they hope will increase the likelihood for that customer to keep coming back.

For example, Giant Eagle -  a Pittsburgh-based supermarket chain here in the Northeastern US - sends Mrs Oldgoat customized coupons based upon things we usually buy there. They also offer a gas rewards card, like many stores, and in the customized mailings they let us see the savings due to using the reward card. It's a pretty canny move as it gives you something tangible to encourage and maintain your loyalty to that brand.

While I still harbor some resentment at having the store "be all up in our business", I still have to admire the technology and the implementation of it.


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