Tech letting retailers snoop on their shoppers

How much privacy do you expect when shopping for a winter coat at your local department store? What about when you're browsing the shops at the nearest indoor mall? Well, you shouldn't expect much. New technology is rendering it ever easier for retailers to snoop on the products you buy and the path you take through a store or mall. A new story by the Wall Street Journal explores exactly how sophisticated retailers are getting with regards to monitoring your shopping habits.

High-tech snooping?

Retailers today are relying today on small gadgets, often hidden in the busiest areas of a shop or mall, that track shoppers' cellphones. Other devices monitor the movements of consumers as they shop, providing vital information to retailers about where shoppers are spending the majority of their time and how long they're spending in line.

A common trend

According to the Wall Street Journal story, this shopping technology is gaining popularity. The story points to The Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank which says that about 1,000 retailers have outfitted their stores with sensors that track the activities of customers. These retailers say that the tech will give them important info about their consumers' shopping habits, in an effort to gain an advantage over their competitors.

Privacy concerns

Consumers, naturally, aren't pleased to hear about this high-tech monitoring. The Wall Street Journal reports on the negative reaction from customers of Nordstrom once they discovered the retailer's tracking technology. It's not clear whether or not Nordstrom will continue their tracking program, with a company spokesperson telling the Journal that the program was only intended as a trial run. One thing is certain, however, today's shoppers should not expect any privacy when they're browsing the store.


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