New retail technologies: creepy or cool?

RichRelevance has released its second annual ‘Creepy or Cool’ study, revealing consumer attitudes towards digital enhancements to the in-store shopping experience. The research asked over 2,000 consumers in the US and UK about how technology can impact their shopping experience, highlighting the difference between what shoppers thought was ‘cool’ and ‘creepy’.

The results of the survey show that consumers are happy when technology is used to enhance their decision making processes when purchasing in-store, for example, technologies such as fingerprint scanning to pay for goods and smart mirrors in changing rooms that allow users to virtually change outfits.

However, UK shoppers are less comfortable with more invasive technologies such as facial recognition software that would identify them to a staff member once in-store.

Here is the full run-down of what shoppers think is ‘cool’:

• Almost half (47.5 per cent) thought fingerprint technology that would allow them to pay for goods and get automatic home delivery would be ‘cool’

• 62 per cent of shoppers want to be able to scan a product on their device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items they may like

• 52 per cent of shoppers are open to receiving pop-up offers on their mobile device, triggered when they enter a store

• A third of shoppers would like to see product recommendations included on print or email receipts that relates to their purchase

• 43 per cent would like to receive a digital coupon for a product they looked at but did not buy after leaving the store

• 42 per cent would like to see interactive changing room mirrors that model potential outfits on their image.

And what shoppers feel is ‘creepy’:

• 75 per cent of shoppers thought that facial recognition software that would allow them to be targeted in-store with relevant offers was a step too far. However, this figure was down slightly from 2015 (77 per cent), which may indicate changing attitudes as this technology becomes more prevalent

• 75 per cent of shoppers thought it ‘creepy’ for a sales assistant to greet them by name in store, if their mobile phone or tablet device had signalled their presence.

Matthieu Chouard, vice-president and general manager at RichRelevance, commented: “Retailers walk a fine line when innovating with in-store technology. Clearly UK consumers are looking for a more seamless personalised experience that helps them with their decision making progress. However, this can be taken too far – more invasive technologies are seen as ‘creepy’ by UK shoppers and this could have an adverse effect on buying behaviour.”

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