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Big Brother Watching? SAP Debuts Tracking Analytics for Retail Stores

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Although numerous tools and services exist to track customer behavior online, the options have been more limited for tracking and analyzing customer behavior in the “real world” at brick-and-mortar stores and in other physical locations. SAP is aiming to change that with a new data service that enables enterprise clients to gain insights into the demographics of their customers, along with detailed descriptions of their real-world, offline behaviors.

Called SAP Digital Consumer Insight, the new service is SAP’s first data offering. It was announced at the company’s recent SAPPHIRE NOW conference that ran May 17-19 in Orlando, Fla.

“A wealth of information is available about consumer behavior online but, until now, it was impractical for businesses to get similar information about consumer behavior at physical locations,” said Jonathan Becher, chief digital officer and head of SAP Digital, in a statement. “SAP Digital Consumer Insight allows businesses of every size to benefit from knowing more about consumers at a given location.”

Capturing Mobile Moments

Becher said that companies will be able to use the data provided by the service to glean insights that will help them improve their products and services, run better marketing campaigns, scout locations for expansion, and learn more about their competitors.

Data from SAP Digital Consumer Insight is based on near-real-time mobile data, providing details on where consumers are coming from, age groups and gender, comparison with other locations or competitors, and the devices they are using either in stores or other points of interest, according to the company.

By capturing consumer “mobile moments” in and around specific locations, SAP said companies can gain insights that they can apply to advertising, proximity marketing, location planning, and sales strategies and campaigns. SAP said this additional information will give businesses a deeper, more accurate understanding of physical consumer behavior.

Privacy Concerns?

The service leverages a combination of analytics, in-memory, and cloud-based technologies and applies them to mobile network data.

SAP said that customer data is anonymized and aggregated before it is provided to companies so the privacy of individual subscribers is preserved.

While big businesses may be ready to jump on the new tracking technology and analytics, consumers may not be so pleased. Many already feel that “Big Brother is watching” their every move online. Taking that feeling to the streets and local stores could have repercussions. While SAP claims that customer data will be “anonymized and aggregated,” privacy advocates and individual consumers may be wary.

U.S. Only, for the Moment

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