Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wells Fargo to help merchants track you

Our smartphones are impressive devices. Because of their wireless capabilities, they can let businesses know when we come into their store, restaurant, auto dealership, etc., enabling them to interact with us as we shop.

Enter Wells Fargo.

The San Francisco-based bank is developing mobile and analytic capabilities that would allow retailers to acknowledge customers and offer promotional coupons in real time, The Wall Street Journal reports this week. The technology would also give mall operators the ability to engage consumers electronically with loyalty programs, the paper reports.

Wells Fargo plans to offer the technology to retailers and mall operators in the second half of this year. According to the story, consumers would have to consent to being tracked, by downloading an app.

Why is Wells Fargo doing this? According to the story, many of the bank’s merchant customers are seeing a drop in foot traffic, in large part thanks to competition from Internet businesses. Wells Fargo's technology would be a competitive tool for retailers as they compete with online merchants, the story says.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

Consumers would be encouraged to download the retailer or mall app, which would offer a number of options, including the ability to search for goods, claim loyalty points, and receive discounts and other offers. The smartphone would then be able to send a signal to beacons located around the mall or store, and back-end systems managed by Wells Fargo would perform real-time analytics to suggest targeted discounts or other offers to the shopper.
Readers, what do you think? Are you willing to let stores know you are there, in exchange for coupons and other perks?