Consumers ‘would swap data for experience’

The majority of UK consumers (80 per cent) are happy to share more data with retailers in order to improve their shopping experience, a new report has found.

The annual ‘Creepy or Cool?’ study from omnichannel personalisation outfit RichRelevance – which surveyed more than 3,500 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany – gauged consumer opinion on the impact of technology to the in-store shopping experience.

The findings found that UK consumers are open minded about retailers incorporating more technology into the shopping experience and are even willing to give access to more personal data if it will improve the shopping experience.

The top five ‘cool’ technologies according to UK consumers included fingerprint scanning (56 per cent) – which saw an 11 per cent increase in favour compared to 2016 results.

The ability to search and order products using voice-recognition technology also proved popular – with a 45 per cent ‘cool’ vote from UK shoppers. Also popular were interactive changing room mirrors – screens in changing rooms that suggest complementary products received 44 per cent of the UK ‘cool’ vote. The final two were contactless payments and robots guiding shoppers to products.

On the other end of the spectrum, retailers using data/AI to choose and order products for shoppers without human input was deemed the most ‘creepy’ prospect (55 per cent). In-store facial recognition technology that relays shoppers’ preferences to staff also had a high ‘creepy’ perception for the majority (54 per cent) of respondents.

AI/chatbot-led customer service was also deemed ‘creepy’ by the majority of all global consumers, despite chatbots being prevalent on many online retail sites.

Diane Kegley, chief marketing officer at RichRelevance, commented: “Customer experiences are driving loyalty across all sectors, sometimes more so than price. This year we are seeing shoppers across the board become more comfortable with technologies that personalise shopping on a one-to-one basis, such as voice recognition, digital product recommendations in changing rooms, and fingerprint scanning for payments.

“The one area where consumers still seem to have real concerns is AI. Companies’ communication around their consumer facing AI initiatives, such as customer service chatbots, clearly needs addressing from a shopper standpoint.”

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