Retailers Continue to Go High Tech

Prairie Gleanings

Despite all the purchase tracking tech, retailers are still making bonehead suggestions.

Published on: December 6, 2013

Marketing has reached a new level. The local news stations continue to report on stories that border on privacy invasion when it comes to retailer behavior.

For instance, there was the story about Target sending a young high-school teenager coupons for diapers because the store was able to recognize her purchases were prenatal in nature. Of course, her parents didn’t know and it led to a bit of outrage. (Why she hadn’t shared this new with her parents is a bit concerning to me.)

This morning, our local news reported that some retailers are tracking consumers’ smart phone signals to learn about browsing habits within their store. I’ve also heard Amazon tailors pricing according to your purchase habits. And, by tailor, I mean they try to squeeze you for more money.

Despite all of these high-tech marketing schemes, I’d contend most electronic retail efforts are missing the mark. I’ll pick on Amazon to drive home my point. (By the way, Amazon still doesn’t charge sales tax in the state of Illinois. I’m not sure why/how Congress still hasn’t plugged this loophole, but that’s a lot of money the Land of Lincoln is missing out on.)

Recently, I ordered a pair of tennis shoes on Amazon. I couldn’t find the color I wanted locally. Again, I try to shop at my local stores as the sales tax dollars pay for our schools and streets.

Anyhow, I placed my order and had my shoes a couple days later. The next time I logged onto Amazon, all of the “suggested” products based on my browsing history were the same type of shoe.

This makes no sense to me. If you go out and buy a new combine, what are you least likely to buy within the next months? Umm….a new combine. Because you just bought one!

I don’t know why Amazon (and other retailers) can’t seem to figure that out.

Facebook is another one that continually targets me with oddball ads. I listed Star Wars as one of my favorite movies. At least weekly, they bombard me with ads for Star Wars posters, toys and other paraphenalia.

I guess they're not taking my age or the fact that I'm married under consideration. How many wives are really going to let their husband decorate their living room with Star Wars posters? I consider myself lucky becauce I can put up a few Cardinals banners in my basement office.

In other news, did you see the story about Amazon experimenting with drones to deliver packages? Within hours of the announcement, someone had posted a meme with a couple of hunters in a field aiming shotguns. The caption said something to the effect of “Here comes our Christmas present from Amazon.”

The thought of hunters taking aim at an Amazon drone instead of a duck gave me a chuckle.