Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Best Buy analyzes customer patterns to set financing

February 9, 2009Hop Skip Go

An article by my colleague Doug McMillan looks retailers like Best Buy using analytics to determine how much free financing to offer customers. The next step, of course, will be to figure out which customers to offer free financing to.

I was interested in the story of an unnamed retailer that has installed advanced surveillance:

[The company] installed "smart shelves" that use ambient light-sensing technology to monitor how long customers stand next to a particular product, whether and how long they pick it up and inspect it, and whether they choose to put it down and pick up something else...

As I mention in the book, this type of technology is giving brick-and-mortar retailers the ability to replicate the tracking that exists in the online world. Increasingly, the Numerati can crunch our behavior in the physical world as well.

One other note: I take a look in the Blogspotting blog at iTunes' Genius program, which appears to profile artists along ethnic lines.

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