Thanks to Tim Manners of Reveries for a heads up on an article about UK retailer Tesco compiling a huge database of British shoppers, their habits and preferences. These activities are the same that Experian and Knowledgebase Marketing are pursuing in the U.S., but everyone thought it was off-limits in the U.K. The big news is that Tesco is growing extremely successful by using this data.
Guardian Unlimited: Tesco stocks up on inside knowledge of shoppers' lives by Heather Tomlinson and Rob Evans
A subsidiary of the [Tesco] supermarket chain has set up a database, called Crucible, that is collating detailed information on every household in the UK, whether they choose to shop at the retailer or not. The company refuses to reveal the information it holds, yet Tesco is selling access to this database to other big consumer groups, such as Sky, Orange and Gillette. "It contains details of every consumer in the UK at their home address across a range of demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle characteristics," says the marketing blurb of dunnhumby, the Tesco subsidiary in question. It has "added intelligent profiling and targeting" to its data through a software system called Zodiac. This profiling can rank your enthusiasm for promotions, your brand loyalty, whether you are a "creature of habit" and when you prefer to shop.