Shopping apps: Consumer advocates recommend vigilance
When shopping on their smartphone, many people use shopping apps. They promise discounts, but users usually pay for these benefits with their data. Therefore, the consumer center again points out to be vigilant. The apps collect information on purchasing behavior “in order to be able to advertise and ultimately sell even more specifically,” says legal expert Christine Steffen from the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center in an interview. With all “advantages, no matter how customer-friendly,” one shouldn’t forget “that these are essentially customer loyalty programs.”
According to Steffen, anyone who sees tailor-made offers as an advantage could “unconsciously be moved to possibly make unnecessary purchases”. The savings effect is then gone, even if consumers are “lured by supposed offers” and then no longer compare the prices with offers from the competition. There is a risk of a blinder effect. But the “digital version of a customer card” has many more functions.
Not only can loyalty points be collected, the shopping apps are like a digital advertising catalog where shopping lists can also be created online. Depending on the provider, it is sometimes even possible to pay for purchases via the app. Many hope for savings through “exclusive discounts, loyalty points or bonuses”. In addition, retailers automatically adjust their prices when shopping online. Due to the mostly short-term changes, they optimize their sales figures and margins, explains Steffen. This way you can make as much profit as possible.
Be stingy with data
The less data collected, the better. If you still want to use such apps, you should think twice about what optional information you provide when starting or registering in the shopping app. The location, other access rights and push notifications do not have to be activated either. “Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves whether the perhaps small financial advantage is in balance with what they reveal about themselves,” says Steffen.
Warning for Temu
Just recently, the consumer advice center NRW warned about the Wish-like shopping app Temu, which is currently conquering the app stores. According to WDR research, electrical devices purchased there do not have a CE mark, which is mandatory for household items and toys in the EU. With the CE mark, the manufacturer declares that the product corresponds to the guidelines valid in the EU.
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