Bay Area companies use smartphones to personalize shopping in stores

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On this Cyber Monday, there's a movement afoot to make shopping in stores as easy and personalized as shopping online. But how personal is too personal? We spoke with two Bay Area companies trying to shape the stores of the future.

For every mall shopper browsing the windows, you'll find another one browsing the web. These days, it's just how we shop.

"I'm going to do all my research online, but actually transact in the physical store," said Adobe Marketing Cloud Retail Director Michael Klein.

They call it web-rooming. It's the opposite of showrooming, where you browse in the store and buy online. And for retailers, it means an adjustment.

Bay Area-based Adobe and Razorfish have teamed up to use your online shopping history to tailor the experience you have in the store. The magic link is the phone in your pocket.

Beacons talk to your phone so retailers know who you are and where you are.

They know what you like and what you need. And if something doesn't fit, just order a different size straight to the dressing room.

"I don't need to put my clothes back on, I can communicate through the application with my stylist," Klein said.

These technologies can all make shopping a dramatically better experience. But retailers know they have to be careful. If used the wrong way, some of these same tools can easily cross the line into feeling a little creepy.

"Frankly, I don't think consumers have any idea how much information retailers have on how they shop and what they buy," said Golden Gate University Consumer Psychologist Kit Yarrow, Ph.D.

But Yarrow says they also want a better experience in the store. For some, it's a fair trade.

"They're used to getting things fast and easy like they do online, and they want that in stores," she said.

Things like reviews and ratings -- right on the shelf. All for the way we actually shop these days.
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