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Purchase Path Data: Tyco To Buy Retail Analytics Provider ShopperTrak

The $175 million deal promises an enormous scale of consumer insights covering 1,200 retailers in 97 countries and 35 billion shopper visits annually.

Although international conglomerate Tyco is primarily concentrated in security involving fire protection services, its proposed $175 million acquisition of in-store data provider ShopperTrak shows the company moving more directly into the Internet of Things and online-to-offline intelligence. (Read the release)

The combination will also put greater pressure on store-level insights companies such as Catalina and IRI Global to expand their own respective scale at the retail aisle. For example, Catalina boasts data on 260 million shoppers and 80 percent of US households, while IRI has info from 5,000 brand clients, many of whom are consumer packaged goods.

Tyco's shopper heatmap: retail analytics are what's really heating up.
Tyco’s shopper heatmap: retail analytics are what’s really heating up.

Chicago-based ShopperTrak was founded 20 years ago and claims to serve more than 750 global retail brands, shopping center owner/operators, and entertainment venues, tracking consumers’ purchases at over 65,000 locations across 90 countries. The addition of ShopperTrak to Tyco’s recent acquisition of FootFall, a global provider of retail visitation data based in the UK, will capture data from 35 billion in-store purchases annually.

The rising consumer adoption of wearables and other IoT devices are drawing a deeper connection between the data coming from consumers and their purchasing habits both online and offline, in-store and in their homes. Despite the widening levels of access to such data, the ability to make that information actionable and accurate remains a challenge for retailers and brands. Furthermore, issues related to security and privacy, even as consumers appear more willing to share so much of their personal information in exchange for better shopping experiences, requires a delicate touch.

The broad scale of deals like the one between Tyco and ShopperTrak suggest that the ability to aggregate consumer data is too great for a single company to manage alone (though, many providers of various sizes can surely stress their more “nimble” capacities to act quickly, serve smaller businesses, and maintain closer relationships with brands and consumers).

Generally speaking, as waves of shopper data becomes more consolidated, smaller retail information companies will see more pressure to either partner up with providers of complementary tools and insights. In the end, it will be interesting to see which companies can meet the demand for ever more granular details about what and where people are shopper for and at. So far, the bet is on larger enterprises that have the processing ability and geographically larger footprint as marketing campaigns seek to plumb online-to-offline insights from global to local purchasing activity.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.