How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”
Pole has a master’s degree in statistics and another in economics, and has been obsessed with the intersection of data and human behavior most of his life. His parents were teachers in North Dakota, and while other kids were going to 4-H, Pole was doing algebra and writing computer programs. “The stereotype of a math nerd is true,” he told me when I spoke with him last year. “I kind of like going out and evangelizing analytics.” How Companies Learn Your Secrets

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers.


10 Hot Web Startups Changing the Face of Retail

In 2010, branded content was one the largest trends among retailers and brands. In 2011, branded content shifted to branded entertainment. Now, in 2012, we’ll look toward content cultivation and aggregation.
By creatively using Pinterest and Tumblr, brands are becoming enthralled with consumer curation, primarily because these types of curated sites create non-linear paths to purchases.
First, retailers post visually appealing images and ideas that are accessible to the online user/consumer. Then, consumers post those images to curated sites. From there, retailers can build brand awareness by directly linking to product pages and encouraging purchase conversions.
“We’re demonstrating the power of peer-to-peer shopping search,” says Buyosphere’s Tara Hunt. “Algorithms are a long way off from picking up nuances that a person can. And personal taste is full of nuance.”
The future of ecommerce, search and social marketing is now tied to personality-influenced consumer curation. Here are 10 product discovery and sharing sites worth paying attention to.

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