Malls to track shoppers' cell phones during holiday season

Summary:Two malls in the United States will use a new tracking system to follow shoppers' movements during the holiday season.

via PathIntelligence

Two malls in the United States will use a new tracking system to follow shoppers' movements during this holiday season. This FootPath technology was created by UK company Path Intelligence and will be used to obtain information about which parts of the mall are the most and least popular as well as how long shoppers tend to spend at various stores. According to company CEO Sharon Biggar, the technology lets them tell retailers, "you had 100 people come to this product, but no one purchased it." She says that information can, "help a retailer narrow down what's going wrong."

The technology monitors shopper movement by capturing signals from cell phones via antennae installed throughout the mall. It can't capture personal details stored on the phone, the mobile number itself, or data about what the shoppers' purchase. "It's just not invasive of privacy," Biggar told CNN. Still, those who wish to opt out can do so by turning off their phones. The company will hang signs around the mall informing customers of the tracking system.

At Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va, the technology went into effect on Black Friday and will be used through New Years Eve. Other companies, like JC Penney and Home Depot, are considering implementing it in the future.

[via CNN]

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Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Jenny Wilson is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has written for and Swimming World Magazine and served stints at The American Prospect and The Atlantic Monthly magazines. She is currently pursuing a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Full Bio

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