Considering the amount of targeted emails and ads we receive, it is a no-brainer that retailers track our browsing and spending online. But until The New York Times released this story, we though brick and mortars were safe.

Image via The New York Times

Turns out, retailers including American Apparel and Nordstrom (though the department store ended its experiment in May) have been using Wi-Fi signals from shoppers' cell phones to track their movement around the store to gather data about consumer behavior.

And that's just the beginning. Other technology being developed and used around the world incorporates video cameras to specifically track consumers and even software that reads facial cues to monitor shoppers' in-store happiness.

The aim of all this is to create a better in-store experience (and shops argue that they're only trying to compete with the digital world). Retailers can adjust product placement and flow throughout the store and can create services to target shoppers with coupons and special deals.

What do you think? Does the new technology cross the line in some creepy way? Are we simply seeing the virtual world come to life? Or, like one person interviewed for the story, are you excited to see shops catering to you with special in-store coupons and targeted apps?

Let us know in the comments section below.