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The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A revealing and surprising look at the ways that aggressive consumer advertising and tracking, already pervasive online, are coming to a retail store near you

By one expert’s prediction, within twenty years half of Americans will have body implants that tell retailers how they feel about specific products as they browse their local stores. The notion may be outlandish, but
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Yale University Press
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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 ·  192 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Start your review of The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power
"As you walk into an upscale department store, you may or may not realize that your phone signaled your arrival. The store cares because you belong to its loyalty program and have achieved high-value-customer status. Your presence is indicated to a store representative, whose tablet calls up your photo so she can recognize and greet you. The tablet also reveals which clothes you looked at on the store’s website during the past week as well as the clothes you clicked on when you accessed the ...more
Ann Rufo
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here are some of the alternate ways I would market this book to readers:

The best horror book of 2017! This combination of Stephen King meets William Gibson elevates suspense to a level of near reality.

Did you buy this book off Amazon? Cause you are now going to feel super shitty as you read it.

A modern re-telling of Poe's classic "The Telltale Heart," with the heart being replaced by your smart phone.

Hey (specific name of person reading this), this is exactly the kind of book you would like.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
The overall thesis of this book was interesting. But the author repeated several points, including pointing out that he already repeated some points.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For many, this book may be a bit of a shocking eye-opener, and even for those who know a bit about it, it may still deliver a lot of data to push into your brain! The subject? How retail stores are tracking you and your shopping activities and how your privacy and even power as a sometimes-informed consumer can be at threat if unchecked.

Of course, there can be benefits for the consumer of an intelligent, data-driven shopping experience, yet many believe that the scales of equality are presently
William Nist
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
We all must be aware by now, of the immense data collection and profile construction efforts of both online and physical commercial establishments. This book illuminates the history of this intrusion, and the techniques used, by modern businesses in search of more pertinent information about their customers.
I am not shocked that this is happening, but the depth of the effort and the multiple ways in which firms collect and organize this data is somewhat surprising. We are on the edge of using
Noel Poler
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are into Retail, this is a book to read, certainly not for the layman. I am a Technology Consultant with many Retail clients, so a very good tool.

It is a walk through the history of Retail, and interestingly enough, how we go in circles on many trends and approaches, from knowing all your customers, to mass merchandising, to knowing more about each customer than they know themselves; from knowing your customer’s preferences, to generalization and segmentation, to knowing what they will
James Hendrickson
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: retail, business
This book is a nice history of retailing (mostly in America). The title is misleading because the privacy issue is really only addressed in the last chapter. The privacy elements aren't even really addressed very well. Privacy is addressed by saying essentially that there are privacy issues and most people don't know about them...conclusion...we should learn about privacy concerns...the end.

The history of retailing is actually really good and worth reading.

I almost didn't read the book because
Kwang Wei Long
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has a very thorough coverage in the retail space, from the history to the future of retail and how analytics come into play for them.
Will recommend to people who are into retail business.
I'm really not sure how to rate this because there is such a disparity between how I feel about the information and how I feel about the writing/presentation.

The bulk of this book is a history of modern retail and its movement from merchants tailoring price and availability to the customer (either through haggling or the merchant holding aside best product/price/options for loyal customers) to a highly democratized system of displaying set prices for wares and now back to a highly
I didn't much like The Aisles Have Eyes. I listened to nearly three hours of it, saw I had five hours to go and just decided to quit. It wasn't horrible. There were some interesting bits of information in there. However, it did not hang together well for me. Nothing got me jazzed about listening to it.

It also wasn't what I was expecting to be reading. At the point where I quit, prologue aside, it was all the history of retail. I'm sure we'd have moved on, but that wasn't what I'd signed on for.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everything Phillip Zimmerman warned us about in the 90s has already happened. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Fascinating and frightening, this book gives some sweeping and scary insight into how retailers monitor you on and offline and the current willingness to surrender privacy for nominal discounts (and the industries willing to take advantage).
I did find the book interesting, though not often compelling. There was a lot of industry-specific information that sometimes caused the "bogged down by details" effect.
Otherwise, this is definitely a book to think on as I make shopping and browsing
Marcella Wigg
Retailers are tracking you. Online, they track what you click on, your purchase history, your location, the sites that refer you to their website, and other granular data, down to the most minute details of your visit histories. Perhaps you were not aware that in the store, though, they track you as well, claiming to anonymize the data but with every capability to discover disturbing amounts about your shopping behavior. As Turow reveals in the The Aisles Have Eyes, these tracking programs are ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book should be required reading for anyone who uses technology. The author discusses how retailers use our technology to track our every move whether we shop online or in store. The ramifications of this tracking are discussed in detail. If you aren't creeped out by how much information retailers have on you now, you will be by the end of the book. The author also discusses what should be done to curtail consumer data collection. This book is enlightening!
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookshare
They seem so beneficent and welcoming. "Want a free sample?" asks the perky disembodied voice inside the freeosk at a Sam's Club? "Insert your membership card ... " If you actually do that and take the sample, that's one more data point the store now has about you and your life. From the second you walk into the store, your indispensable iPhone screams out to the silent trackers that you're in the building. Eyeing that new laptop or tablet for more than a few seconds, are you? No problem. ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Further, in 2013 the New York Times reported that the website Axiom had created to make this information available,, wasn't releasing all the personal information it had collected."

This book was around 3.5 stars for me.

On the one hand it was informative and terrifying.

On the other it wasn't super invigorating listening to the audiobook and I found myself having to go back and make sure I was listening. This book covers a span of history about the rise of tracking consumers.
Patrick Pilz
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
We all understand that retail is in trouble, but the solutions in this book will not help much. Retailers are getting eating by companies how leverage technology to understand their customers better, and fighting high-tech companies with in-store-tech will at best slow their demise, but certainly not stop it.

The book ends in the typical rant about how big data misuse can lead to discrimination and privacy obstructions.

If you are heading to Anuga right now, it may be worth to kill the 4 hours
Zee Monodee
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Personally thought it was a lot of 'scare' ideas, hype and crying wolf, and clickbait title because a) the book is almost entirely about retail history & not privacy. b) Read the intro/prologue and you'd have read the gist of the whole book - there isn't much else being added on top of what's been summarized in this section, and again, very little about privacy! c) We live in a world where we consciously give away our info - with Location beacons on on our phones, geo-tagging all our photos ...more
Robert S
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
The Aisles Have Ears submits the premise that brick and mortar stores will double down on tracking your physical shopping in order to survive against online retailers like Amazon.

Will it work? Probably not.

I definitely don't see people clamoring to have chips inserted into themselves, never mind for the eventual purpose of tracking your purchases from the local Walmart.

The book has a fascinating premise with an extensive history of retail shopping in America but it often gets in its own way by
Jade BookNerd
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for everyone interested in privacy and retailing. It reveals an extremely sick world where companies track you across the web AND physical stores. The information is then sold to other companies that want to manipulate you into buying more products. Hyper focused ads are crammed into your brain. In many ways, companies know more about you than you do yourself.

These companies make me sick.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
As we enter into the age of Big Data, where we casually relinquish our privacy in favor of a better targeted consumer experience, I think this is an important book to read. But its focus on brick-and-mortar stores feels oddly dated to me. With more and more shopping occurring on Amazon and other online sites, I just don't think as many shoppers are wandering the physical aisles these days.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This book made me want to cease all internet shopping and pay for everything in store with cash. EXCEPT that some stores are (apparently) working on cameras and software that can recognize you when you walk in, just by your face, and automatically figure out your mood. So there is no way of not being tracked. It made me frustrated with how we are tracked everywhere, much more than I thought, how they can connect your digital self and actual person. It made me revisit all my social media ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise far exceeded the execution of this book. I found it often repetitive and lacking enough real life examples to explain the idea the author was trying to convey. At the very least, it will make you think twice before downloading a store app, opting in to anything online or even walking through a store. Big Brother is definitely watching!
Budd Margolis
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
A basic primer, bit boring, but some rather useful gems scattered about. Corporations will use every possible technology (like the NSA) to learn about, analyse and manipulate and exploit your personal information. People must wake up and protect their freedom and personal information.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really good illustration of just how much of our privacy has been stripped from us in the past few decades from retailers and companies. Scary to think about, but if you are aware of it you can try to protect yourself from it to some extent.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The middle of the book is really interesting . It is about apps from stores.
Rae Coleman
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I couldn't finish this book because I was listening to the audio version and it's terrible. Seriously put my fiance & I to sleep. I'm sure the book is better as a non-audio version.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The horror reference in the title is accurate, but the book rejects any overt fear-baiting.
Anna Grogan
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Good stuff in the first half. I had a hard time getting through some sections but flew through others. Didn't finish.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Creepy but fascinating.
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