Real Innovators Embrace the Tough Issues
In recent years, U.S. retailers have enthusiastically deployed technologies that enable
them to learn more about shopper behavior. Sophisticated indoor location-based analytics
communicate with smartphones and other mobile devices to anonymously identify shoppers
that come into a store, learn how they travel within that store, their dwell times in specific
departments and other behavioral business metrics.
The end goal of these technologies is to help retailers provide their customers with the best
possible shopping experience. Indoor location-based analytics help retailers ensure they offer
the products customers most want, maintain the ideal ratio of sales associates to shoppers
for highly personalized service, create marketing and merchandising campaigns that appeal to
shoppers, and much more.
Again, the objective of these technologies is to empower retailers to provide a great shopping
experience for their customers.
As can be the case with new technologies, however, consumers had questions. Were retailers
spying on shoppers? Was the technology capturing personal information from their mobile
devices? Were retailers invading consumer privacy?
The market was soon flooded with misconceptions, misunderstandings and inaccurate media
reports that fueled consumer fears. The issue became heated enough to attract the attention
of the U.S. Senate, and Senators Charles Schumer and Al Franken were among those who
stepped up to ask tough questions of shopper analytics companies.
The industry reacted in multiple ways. A few retailers very publicly removed shopper analytics
technologies from their stores, and a good number of technology providers and retailers
remained silent in hopes of avoiding negative attention while continuing to provide and make
use of retail shopper analytics.
A few shopper analytics companies, however, actively joined the debate, and one such
company demonstrated the importance of embracing tough public issues, overcoming
misconceptions and providing genuine industry leadership.
iInside is a leading provider of advanced indoor location-based analytics. The company has
more than 20 patents and more than 30 years’ experience providing advanced location-based
analytics to retail and other industries. (Full disclosure: iInside is a client of our firm.)
iInside launched a multi-faceted campaign to tackle the privacy issue with a level of innovation
similar to that which drives its development of best-in-class technologies.
Future of Privacy Forum. iInside joined forces with Senator Schumer, other location analytics
providers and the Future of Privacy Forum to identify and clarify all privacy concerns related to
indoor location-based analytics.
Code of Conduct. iInside and other FPF members crafted – and committed to – a Code of
Conduct and best practices to safeguard consumer privacy while enabling retailers and others
to continue using location analytics to better serve their customers.
Corporate Clarity. iInside actively communicates its commitment to maintaining consumer
privacy via its website and through the retailers and other companies it serves.
Industry Education. iInside helps retailers and other companies better understand how to
ensure compliance with the FPF Code of Conduct and safeguard consumer privacy. At the
same time, iInside helps its customers continue to better serve consumers through responsible
applications of indoor location-base analytics.
iInside instinctively approached a complicated, potentially damaging issue in the same way
we advise all of our clients – with honesty, innovation and leadership. As a result, iInside’s
industry came together as a transparent group with the common goal of better serving
consumers. In the process, iInside increased its positive visibility among the right audiences,
overcame industry and consumer misconceptions, and strengthened understanding of the
many advantages to be gained from its technology and service offerings.
Real innovators embrace the tough issues.
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