TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia assume we’re monitored by the NSA. Dunno. This much we do know: the private sector is collecting the kind of consumer-specific data on gun owners that the NSA would kill for. Not literally. At this point. “[Cabela’s] data collection begins as customers, whether in-store, online or from one of the more than 100 catalogs the company publishes each year, are lured into joining Cabela’s Club Rewards loyalty program or sign up for its Club Rewards Visa card,” reuters.com reports. “Customers are prompted to use accumulated points at checkout, creating a positive feedback loop.” And a consumer profile to die for. Not literally. At this point. In the words of the great Montell Jordan, this is how they do it . . .
Online, meanwhile, Cabela’s has examined how the order in which customers place items in their basket influences the probability of purchase, Tanner said. A customer that begins a basket with a hunting call that attracts predators like coyote, for instance, suggests a specific kind of hunt. The customer will then be prompted to buy lightweight camouflage that can be worn year-round (as opposed to camouflage for deer hunting, which is only done in the winter) or a spotlight with a red filter that helps hunters spot coyotes at night.
And every time a consumer responds to a prompt, their Cabela’s profile gets more and more complex, specific and actionable. And, of course, profitable.
Cabela’s ability to seemingly know what its customers want at all times has helped the company become “central to their lifestyle,” said Mark Mulholland, manager of the $630 million Matthew 25 fund. Mulholland began buying shares at around $6 per share in late 2008 – giving him an approximately 1,000 percent return since – and has added to his position in the last 30 days, in anticipation that the company’s share price will continue to see percentage growth in the mid-teens for the next several years. The company makes up the second-largest position in his fund, behind Apple Inc.
So buy Cabela’s stock before or after (but not during) a coyote-killing expedition. Meanwhile, here’s a question . . .
How would Cabela’s corporate stewards react
when if the NSA, FBI, ATF or some rep from a federal alphabet agency showed-up at Cabela’s corporate HQ with a request for a consumer data dump? Or is that post-equine egress barn door closing? Is it too late to worry about gun owners’ privacy?