Apart from that, what I try to make clear is that a major reason that this happens, why people are accepting it both online and in the store, is obfuscation. There is an incredible amount of obfuscation going on. That is, people are led to think that things work in one way when there is a whole world of other activities tracking them, and parsing them, and categorizing them, that they have no clue about.
What companies will tell you now is that the big difference between websites and what goes on in the store is that the store wants to track you, but you have to have an app on, in most cases. They would say that makes it tougher than just simply having a website, because on websites they can track you by sticking a cookie or some other tracker in and you wouldn’t even know it.
But in the store, they would say, you have to make an affirmative decision to turn on an app. Now, that app doesn’t have to be the store’s app. What’s interesting is that there are different apps that will interact with the store’s marketing dynamics that have nothing to do with the name of the store. There’s a company called InMarket which has its software in many, many different apps. So if you have, say, the Condé Nast app, it can wake up when you walk into the store and tell the store that you’re in, and what kinds of stuff to offer you, and stuff like that.
Waddell: But you have to be using that other app, right?
Turow: You have to have that other app on, yeah. But most of the apps nowadays can wake up by themselves. You don’t even necessarily have to affirmatively do it. I suspect that down the line they would like to make even more non-transparent.
What companies do, since a lot of people don’t have apps for certain stores, is that they send you a text message for a discount coupon. Then, even if you don’t have the app, you’ll put it in the phone’s wallet. The wallet, then, becomes a kind of app, and it can be set to remind you of the discount when you walk into that particular store, or even come within a certain area of that store.