Italian mannequin maker Almax has developed mannequins that can see and hear what customers are doing. The new mannequins could allow retailers to monitor shopper behavior and potentially even listen to what customers are saying about what a mannequin is wearing. At $5000, the mannequins are not cheap. They provide a potentially new source of marketing research while also raising ethical and privacy concerns.
This example fits in with other technology being used by retailers to monitor consumers – we have posted about this before (click on market research tag on the right for access to some of our previous posts). This example opens the door to discuss privacy and ethics when you cover market research or retailing. You can read more in this Bloomberg Businessweek article “In Some Store, the Mannequins Are Watching You” (December 6, 2012). We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.