Smart Phones Helping Retailers Discover How You Shop - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Smart Phones Helping Retailers Discover How You Shop

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SALISBURY, Md. - In a society where we're becoming more and more dependent on our smart phones, it looks like retailers could benefit from our need to be connected.

When you're out and about searching for the perfect purchase, chances are your phone is searching, too. Retail areas like malls and airports that offer WiFi are banking on finding out what you're looking for.

Mobile-based technology is growing in popularity with retailers, who can track where you are an a certain area and how much time you spend there. It's all done through your phone's wifi- and Bluetooth addresses as it searches for a connection.

Those numbers don't contain any personal information like names or phone numbers, but a pilot test of a tracking program at several Nordstrom stores in 2012 didn't ring in the best feedback.

And an AP poll shows half of all Americans are concerned about retailers keeping their information private, but it's not a concern for everyone.

"I don't think it's a bad idea," said Dylan Bromwell.

Peter Melendez added, "I have mixed feelings on that kind of stuff. I'm not opposed to it."

The research could help streamline shoppers' experiences by allowing retailers to make adjustments based on shopping patterns.  To help ease some fears, the companies compiling the information have agreed to a code of conduct, notifying customers when stores and malls are being monitored.  And the advocacy group Future of Privacy Forum has an opt-out site for smart phone customers at http://smartstoreprivacy.org/

But -- Dylan Bromwell has a simpler solution.

"Just turn your WiFi off if it's that big of a deal."

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