Do you know what information you're giving retailers?
7 Ways Retailers Know What You're About to Buy
by Jeff Cruz
The Subtle Psychology of Credit Cards
How to Break Bad Financial Habits
Free Get Out of Debt Course
You might have wondered how some retailers seem to know exactly what things you need at the exact time you need them. Do not be confused that it's just about seasonal shopping. When a retailer sends you coupons for shoes just as you are thinking about going to the store to order them, you must have told them about your plans without realizing it. Retailers have developed several methods to track and understand your shopping habits. Here are seven ways retailers can track you and predict your shopping habits.
1. Store Loyalty Cards
Have you ever wondered why stores are so concerned about giving privileges like special discounts to loyalty customers? It is because loyalty cards make it easy for the store to track your shopping habits. When you pay with your loyalty card and the receipt machine gives you a coupon, be sure to look closely at the coupon. You will realize that the coupon reflects your previous purchases at the store. The data of what you have bought with your loyalty cards are stored and you will soon start to get offers to purchase supplementary products from the store. The more you shop with a store loyalty card, the more the store knows about you.
2. Your Phone Number
Some stores ask you for your phone number at checkout. Most people will provide the phone number without thinking. It is a fact that your phone number instantly gives away your location. Aside from that, it can be used to do a reverse look up for your physical address. Once stores have your phone number, there are a lot of ways they can track you with it and ensure that they keep you spending on their merchandise.
3. Store Wi-Fi
If you like free store Wi-Fi, you have taken the bait. You may give your personal data plan some relief, but there is a price to pay for it. To start, store Wi-Fi's ensure that you stay longer on the premises of the store. Moreover, the Wi-Fi can be used to track you from your devices in real time. Through Wi-Fi, stores can track which aisles you visited first and which offer attracted your attention most, judging from how long you stayed at a particular aisle. The information stores get from you using their Wi-Fi will enable them to optimize your shopping experience and ensure that you keep spending.
4. Your Smartphone
Once you have connected to a store Wi-Fi on your smartphone, you can be tracked in real time, and they will track you. Through a technique known as geofencing, retailers know you are inside the store and map your shopping path. If you connect to store Wi-Fi, then they know your shopping habit in detail and you can suddenly start getting offers related to products in the aisles you are visiting frequently.
5. Website Cookies
Are you heading for debt trouble? This simple checklist can help you.
Cameras are an integral component of all retail stores. Stores locate their cameras in such a way that you think they are only positioned to view shoplifters. This is a calculated deception. The cameras are put in place to also watch you, an average unsuspecting shopper. Facial recognition software can be used to determine when you enter the store and how you react to products and offers. This will ensure that they are better prepared for your next visit.
7. Social Media
Retailers sell the notion that they are on social media to advertise and promote their brands. There is no doubt that this is part of their goal, but there is another goal they do not talk about. That goal is espionage. Brands and retailers will push offers at you on social media all through the day. Meanwhile they are carefully collecting your responses to these offers. The more you react to these offers by either liking them or sharing the links, the more they know about you. They'll use that feedback to prepare for the next time you visit their store.
Take the Next Step:
- Keep your finances on track by visiting our money section each week. We are always finding new ways to help you with your finances.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Debt from my past is preventing me from saving for my future! Tell us: Yes, debt is hindering my ability to save and I could use help dealing with it! or No, debt is not a problem but I am trying to get ahead financially!
More Money Tips & Tools
- 5 low-risk ways to earn higher interest now
- 10 easy ways to save money for the holidays
- 7 IRA withdrawals that don't trigger a penalty
- 4 secrets to maximize your credit card rewards
- Don't toss your financial resolutions just yet!
- How and why to put your legal and financial affairs on autopilot
- 18 ways money slips through your fingers
- This week's Readers' Tips