Video surveillance research in retailing: ethical issues

Kirkup, Malcolm and Carrigan, Marylyn (2000). Video surveillance research in retailing: ethical issues. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 28(11) pp. 470–480.



In an increasingly competitive market there is a keen interest among retailers to understand as much as possible about consumer behaviour. Advances in technology have presented retail marketers with many new research tools with which to monitor such behaviour. Alongside such advances in technology, however, have come accusations that some aspects of marketing and marketing research raise ethical issues. Those engaged in the use of new marketing and research methods therefore need to be aware of any potential public concerns and be seen to adhere rigorously to ethical practice. This paper examines the growing use of video surveillance within retail stores. The technique offers an objective and accurate research tool for retailers to monitor consumer behaviour. However, along with increasing use comes the potential danger of abuse, and the paper finds that few guidelines exist to assist retailers or researchers in managing this type of research.

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