Our Privacy versus Their Survival: Big Data Keeps Online and Brick-and-Mortar Retailers from Hitting the Wall
This report provides analysis of the market Stratecast defines as Mobile, Retail, and Location Analytics (MRLA). The main conclusions and key takeaways are as follows:
The terms “retailer” and “eTailer” do not have quite the same meaning in today’s retail industry as they once did. Almost every retailer has a Web site where it also offers merchandise for sale; and, while some of the most powerful retailers in the world are in fact pure eTailers—no physical retail locations—even those companies have a set of needs and concerns quite similar to those of their brick-and-mortar (physical) counterparts. The needs of both types of retailers are well-served by MRLA technologies and solutions.
The portion of MRLA focused on retail analytics, and, more specifically, on the collection of data from shoppers at physical retail stores, has become the front line of the battle that pits the needs of businesses to collect and use Big Data versus the rights of consumers to maintain some semblance of privacy in an always-on, 24/7 world. As such, retail analytics continues to draw fire from consumers, consumer watchdogs, regulators, and some legislators, particularly in the U.S.
While Stratecast fully supports reasonable privacy in any industry and venue, we also see other areas where privacy is under attack, and has been for years, to a far greater degree than in-store analytics. Three that leap readily to mind are any Web site; the various and sundry online properties and online services that are all part of the Google empire; and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). This report analyzes the incursions of privacy occurring in these places, and contrasts it with what occurs in retail analytics, to bring some balance to the discussion.
Retailers, industry watchdog groups, and a U.S. Senator have established an industry Code of Conduct that, while self-enforcing and far from ideal for consumers, outstrips and appears to have been specifically designed to prevent abuses that occur every day elsewhere, such as in the financial services industry.
The importance of applying analytics to retail is underscored by the size of the MRLA component of the Big Data and analytics market, which currently accounts for percent, or $ billion, of that market. Retailers are obtaining big results from Big Data; and, to illustrate, this report provides snapshots of what some retailers and their MRLA providers are doing in that regard.
About this report
This Stratecast report analyzes MRLA in context with other activities that occur every day on a national and global scale - activities in the private and public sectors that Stratecast believes have a far greater impact on privacy than MRLA. The report analyzes steps the industry has taken to address consumer privacy; as well as solutions and providers that allow retailer survival and consumer privacy to coexist.
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