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Target is spying on you…

And more power to them. I happened upon this New York Times article over the weekend: How Companies Learn Your Secrets. The gist (it’s about 7,000 words, but it’s a quick read) is that Target hires statisticians to increase revenue. Target, like many other corporations, wants to get repeat business. Most of us are set in our buying ways — we usually shop at the same places until some life-changing event happens. Those life-changing events include moving, marrying, divorcing, graduating and, of course, the holy grail of life-changing events: having a baby. As most parents will tell you, having a baby changes everything (as it should). New parents must wrestle with sleep deprivation, continuous family illnesses, financial changes (sometimes including converting to one-income family for a short time, if not longer) and figuring out how to best care for their new bundle of joy. New parents and parents-to-be are more open to changing their retail routines, as they try to fit their new purchasing requirements (baby food, formula, pacifiers, diapers and everything else) into their old shopping habits. For example, Target hopes that new parents will stop shopping for food at grocery stores and convert to Target, which has a grocery section and baby products section. The theory is that they can predict which of their customers are pregnant based on purchasing habits. [SPOILER ALERT]

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