Retailers are positioning themselves to charge customers based on their willingness to pay—so that my Burberry-dressed neighbor pays more than my thrifty neighbor for the same product. How are retailers tracking our shopping habits, and what does it mean for you?
At the National Retail Federation annual conference, retailers discuss how to use big data to personalize customer prices. Tactics include in-store cameras that track which products you’re examining, so Kroger can send you a coupon for chips as you’re still roaming the salsa aisle. Or if you buy cat food towards the end of the month, you’ll be e-mailed a special offer on the 25th, rather than showered with ads all the time. But do the savings outweigh the creepiness?
Imagine cows fed and milked entirely by robots. Or tomatoes that send an e-mail when they need more water. Or a farm where all the decisions about where to plant seeds, spray fertilizer and steer tractors are made by software on servers on the other side of the sea. This is what more and more of our agriculture may come to look like in the years ahead, as farming meets Big Data.