Still, the industry is growing. Late last year, The Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on advancing responsible data practices, estimated that roughly 1,000 businesses in the U.S. and Canada were using some form of mobile location analytics technology. This week, Shopkick, another technology company, said that its beacons would be deployed in more than 1,000 stores by the end of March, after an initial rollout in two Macy's stores last November.
The company declined to specify which new stores it would be heading to next. But major brands are likely to be in the mix, given its Macy's pilot, which was followed by a deployment in 100 American Eagle clothing stores.
Shopkick could see success with its technology. The company cited recent data from Nielsen that said that its shopping app was used more than any other physical retailer's own app.
Issues around privacy, however, could derail companies' plans. Nordstrom for a period last year followed Wi-Fi signals from people's phones, but later ended the project after receiving some negative reactions from shoppers. Many retailers are still trying to figure out the best ways to educate shoppers about what they're doing.
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