Creepy or creative? More and more brick and mortar stores are using iPhone apps to collect information about customers, which they then use to tailor discounts and offer product suggestions. Here’s what you need to know:
Consumers have grown accustomed to the idea of online retailers collecting information about them, but author Joseph Turow says that now physical stores are doing it too.
TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross.
We’ve become accustomed to the idea that when we shop online, retailers are collecting information about us. But you might not realize how much information is being collected about you in some of the stores you shop in.
My guest Joseph Turow says we’re on the cusp of a retailing era that is adding an entirely new level of routine surveillance, like the ability for the retailer to know when you’ve walked into the store and then track where you are within it and what merchandise you’ve been handling – not to prevent you from shoplifting, but to get a profile of who you are as a consumer. Your profile may affect the price you are charged at checkout.
Turow is the author of the new book “The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, And Define Your Power.” His previous book was about how the advertisers track you and profile you and use that information to sell to you online. He’s a professor of communications and associate dean for graduate studies at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
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