Marketing Company Follows 3 of 4 U.S. Households as They Shop

Tuesday, April 05, 2011
In less than three years, Pointer Media Network has become a behemoth in the world of consumer tracking. The company claims to monitor 76% of American households to learn what people buy, so it can sell this information to retailers hawking their products. Pointer Media has amassed such a wide reach through shopper IDs and customer loyalty cards in stores like A&P. KMart, Walgreens, Safeway, Kroger, Ralphs, Piggly Wiggly, Winn-Dixie, Fry’s and others. In any given week, the company claims to track 150 million shoppers and 250 million transactions at 250,000 checkout counters at 23,000 stores.
One example of how Pointer uses this information takes place at the checkout counter. When you turn over your shopper ID, a printer next to the register prints out a personalized coupon based on the history of your purchases. In its pitch to companies, Pointers says they “can pinpoint your volume buyers, identify the best targets for new products, or spot loyal customers who are about to leave your brand.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


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