In order for supermarkets to measure their success, they currently use the point-of-purchase merchandise technique to determine the effectiveness of influencing impulse buys and overall store performance. Because many of the point-of-purchase sales are unplanned and spontaneous, asking consumers why they picked a particular product is not as effective as using camera based observational research to more effectively market products and increase revenue. Two options for camera based observational research exist.
The first is to use surveillance cameras to monitor the flow and “hot spots” of a supermarket along with determining the effectiveness of displays. Supermarkets will often post signs alerting consumers to the observational research. In cases where consumers will be interviewed, they are asked to give their consent to be filmed. Either way, consumers are filmed by security surveillance systems in which laws do not exist as to how the video footage is used.
Option two is to pay consumers as volunteers to use eye-mark technology to record the movement of their pupil as it hones in on the products that are attention getting and counts the length of time the product was fixated on, which will enhance product marketing for future profit gain. Although option two is a preconscious choice, researchers are able to glean much more information than a consumer realizes about their shopping behavior: therefore, controlling their purchases.
1. Does the use of highly developed marketing research technology infringe on a consumer’s right to privacy?
2. If consumers are aware of being taped or consent to volunteer in market research, what concern, if any, does this raise if supermarkets are able to control impulse buys and profit from spontaneous purchases?