Blog post written by group: Sagar Kumar, Ibrahim Malik, Lalit Singh, Raghav Natarajan.
Big Data has a lot of potential, even though that potential might not be so beneficial to us. Big retail super markets are a huge influence on today’s community, with almost €60,000 to €80,000 in revenue each day. Supermarkets are able to store, save and analyse the shopping patterns and their customer’s behaviors. In a world full of data tracking us, are we really ever alone. I want to take a look at this by talking about a real life anecdote concerning the digital personal space being violated through the use of Big Data in supermarkets.
A few years ago in Minneapolis, an angry dad barged into the popular target store Target. He claimed that Target was encouraging his daughter to get pregnant because his daughter had been receiving mail of posters and coupons selling baby diapers, cribs etc. A few weeks later, after an official apology from Target, the dad wrote back to Target stating that his “daughter was due in August, I owe you an apology”
As it turns out, target’s internal algorithms had been tracking and processing his daughter’s purchases. Patterns such as certain vitamin supplements or scent free soap, were taken into account; little hints that might signal a pregnancy. Without being told, Target knew that a girl was pregnant, before her own father.
We are being tracked and followed in this digital age now more than ever before either through DNA analysis, browser cookies, finger printing, cell phones, GPS and traceable debit cards. Target, for example, gives each customer a Guest ID, which links the customer’s demographics information such as:
- If they are married or not
- How many kids you have
- How long it takes for you to drive to the store
- Which part of town you live in
- Your estimated salary
- Whether or not you have moved recently
- What bank you have an account in
- Browser history and cookies etc.
This is thanks to their “predictive analysis” department that is devoted to understanding not only their customer’s shopping habits but also their personal habits in order to “market them” more efficiently. All this information that is collected and analysed is thanks to Big Data.
Read more about the Target story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&hp&