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Summary:

When you wander the malls or roam the aisles of your favorite boutique it’s increasingly likely that the retailer is watching where you walk via sensors and your phone. Is this a bad thing?

online shopping mall
photo: Thinkstock

Before the New York Times posted its story this week on shoppers at Nordstrom and coffee shops being tracked using their smartphone, I had talked to Hilmi Ozguc, CEO and co-founder of Swirl, a company that provides such technology. Ozguc didn’t seem evil, and in fact, most of the podcast was spent discussing how this helps bridge the online and offline shopping experience to the benefit of consumers.

We discuss how the company’s app lets people opt-in to such tracking and how sensors placed in participating retailers will let those retailers know what shoppers want and offer them discounts. As more retailers participate, users of the app who are in a store might get notified if another store has the item they are looking at for a lower price. We end with Ozguc’s vision for the future of retail. If you want to see it in action, just hit up a Kenneth Cole store in NYC or The Blue Jean Bar in Boston.

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Show notes:
Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Hilmi Ozguc, CEO and co-founder of Swirl

  • How is Swirl not like a retailer stalking me through the store?
  • Who is the customer here? The retailers or the consumer?
  • How does the internet of things change shopping?
  • How soon will retailers open up their data so consumers can see what’s in stores in real-time?

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  1. It is just creepy. I’m turning OFF my phone when in malls.

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