By now you’re probably aware that retailers try REALLY hard to track your every step once you walk in the door. Many big-box stores do this by offering you free WiFi or proprietary smartphone apps. They can then access your location, movements, and even which products you hover over so they can hit you with ads later. But I’m here to tell you that there’s another reason to be cautious as it can end up costing you BIG bucks over time. Let me explain…
Is the Free WiFi Really Free?
Let’s say you enter your local Target and connect to their free WiFi. No biggie, right?
More specifically, they’ve been known to only show you the in-store price on the Target app instead of the often cheaper online price.
Why do they do this? Because they’ll happily price-match their online prices BUT they’d much rather have you pay the more expensive in-store price.
Test this out yourself the next time you visit Target.
The Shopping App Revolution
It seems every store these days has an app that lets you quickly shop from their website, even when you’re walking down the aisles of their brick & mortar location.
In theory, the app is supposed to help you locate the cheapest price, whether it’s online or in-store.
Doesn’t always work that way unfortunately.
Once they have their app on your smartphone they’re in control.
They get access to your location, your browsing habits within their app, and all kinds of other nuggets that they can use to make more money off you in the future.
Which Stores Are Known For This?
Bottom-line: Whenever you connect to a retailer’s WiFi or download their proprietary app, you should automatically assume there’s a chance you’re getting messed with.
How to Protect Yourself?
The obvious way is to simply not download any retailer’s shopping app and NEVER connect to their free WiFI.
But this is not always warranted (or practical) as these apps often are embedded with coupons and deal information that help you save money.
You’ll find this in your phone’s settings under privacy or location.
By doing so, they WON’T know your in their store and can’t do any sneaky pricing tricks (or track your location) behind your back.
Ask the Reader: Have you ever noticed when a store was messing with you? If so, which store and what was the dealio?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Mike Mozart.