OT: CompUSA Collecting personal information / Is this a trend?

Sean Kirkby skirkby at concentrico.net
Tue Feb 1 11:05:07 MST 2005

Customer loyalty programs aren't all bad.  It's not always just the
vendor who benefits.  By knowing more about how their customers shop,
vendors can make stocking and purchasing decisions that are more
targeted to what their customers *actually* want, rather than having to
*guess* about it.  
Their advertising budgets can be smaller (which means less ads). 
Indeed, it is even possible for them to increase their margins while
lowering their prices.  Who loses on that deal?  Maybe they will even
put some of their newfound margin into hiring better help, or technology
solutions that make shopping even more convenient.  
And I know the shareholders won't complain about higher profits.  If I
were a shopper AND a shareholder, and got lower prices AND higher
dividends... where's the bad part of that?  
With grocery store cards, they not only know that they sold 50 bottles
of Pace picante sauce on Saturday, along with 100 pounds of ground beef
and 500 apples, etc., but they also know if there is a correlation to
people buying apples and ground beef and hot sauce.  They can create
more targeted packages, at lower prices, for more profit, etc.  
In the end, if they don't benefit their customer at least as much as
the next store, they will lose them.  And every store is trying to
benefit their customers more than the other stores.
Granted, all they should need to know about me in order to get this
benefit is that the same person purchased a pack of diapers, a can of
sardines, and once again religiously avoided the "seasonal items" aisle.
 They don't need to know my name, though it could be helpful for them to
know how much money I make, and approximately where I live.  Again, such
data can help them reduce marketing costs, thus reducing operating
costs, and reducing prices, making things more convenient - all of which
I am in favor of.
But in the end, since they seem to really want to know who I am, and
since I have nothing to hide (yet) - what difference does it make?

>>> fozz at iodynamics.com 1/31/2005 3:57:36 PM >>>

Not long ago, Marc Christensen proclaimed...
> Smiths is the same....check it out.

A friend of mine quit patronizing Smith's Marketplace after Fred Meyer
the switch because of the card. It wasn't the privacy issue that drove
away, it was the customer value issue. He feels Smith's/FM should value
as a paying customer regardless of their stupid card. They should
appreciate his patronage because he patronizes their business. As it
they only treat you well if you show the card- that seems wrong in
principle to him.

I have to agree, but I don't care that much. I just buy what I want
where I
feel like buying it. 


fozz at iodynamics.com is Doran L. Barton, president, Iodynamics LLC
Iodynamics: Linux solutions - Web development - Business connectivity
"Directions: Use like regular soap."
    -- Seen on bar-soap packaging

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