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UK consumers find in-store facial recognition ‘creepy’

Thursday July 16, 2015 at 7:12pm
Almost three quarters (72%) of UK consumers find personalisation of product recommendations based on purchasing habits a “cool” capability when shopping, according to new research. But seven in 10 UK shoppers say the idea of facial recognition technology that identifies age and gender in order to display product recommendations is “creepy”, while three quarters (76%) felt the same about being greeted by their names when walking into a store because their mobile phones registered their entrance. The Creepy or Cool report from omnichannel personalisation specielaists RichRelevance reveals British shoppers also welcome location-based personalisation in store, with 63% saying they would appreciate a mobile personalised map showing item locations and efficient store paths to help them navigate stores more conveniently. Furthermore, 43% find in-store location-based deals – where their location is tracked in order to trigger personalised promotions whilst shopping – “cool”. Consumers in Yorkshire and The Humber are the most creeped out by personalisation, with a “Creepy” score – calculated by taking the total “Creepy” score of each region and deducting that region’s total “Cool” score – of 30%. London had a “Creepy” score of just 2%. Men are percentage points more likely than women to shop at a retail store that offers a digitally personalised experience. While half of under-30s find personalised product recommendations in the dressing room “cool”, only a quarter of over-45s would welcome this capability. Furthermore, 56% of over-60s find it creepy to have their location in store trigger personalised promotions, but two-thirds (63%) of under-29s find this capability cool. Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance, says: “While it’s always been a well-known fact that UK consumers are keen protectors of their privacy and personal space, we now have a clearer view into where they are increasingly embracing – and even expecting – tailored shopping services in the fast-changing world of retail.” Kegley goes on: “Personalisation in the form of facial recognition or personal greeting at store entrance may not be welcome, but we’re seeing a trend of younger consumers who are open to a connected shopping experience—receiving recommendations delivered within their personal space like dressing rooms and smartphones, and allowing in-store tracking if it means getting a better deal.” According to Forrester, nearly seven in 10 shoppers now use a mobile device while in the store, and retailers are investing heavily in new technologies to make the in-store shopping experience better than ever. RichRelevance’s survey of 1,049 consumers in the UK was conducted in May 2015, and locates nine digital store capabilities along a continuum of cool and creepy. Highlights include: CoolScan a product on your mobile device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items you might like. Overall rating: 72% cool. An interactive map on your mobile phone shows exactly where items are located and charts your most efficient path through the store. Overall rating: 63% cool. Your in-store location triggers personalised product recommendations, promotions and coupons to pop up on your mobile device as you are shopping. Overall rating: 43% cool. Getting CreepyProducts in store don’t have price tags; instead digital screens display prices that are tailored just to you. Overall rating: 44% creepy. Digital screens in each dressing room provide products recommended just for you based on your current items and past purchases. Overall rating: 45% creepy. A salesperson unlocks the dressing room door before you arrive based on your detected location within the store. Overall rating: 63% creepy. CreepyFacial recognition technology identifies age and gender to target advertisements on digital screens. For example, an eye cream promotion for an older female shopper. Overall rating: 68% creepy. A salesperson greets you by name when you enter a store because your mobile phone signals your entrance. Overall rating: 73% creepy. Facial recognition technology identifies you as a high-value shopper and relays this information to a sales associate. Overall rating: 77% creepy. RichRelevance is the global leader in omnichannel personalisation and is used by more than 200 multinational companies to deliver the most relevant and innovative customer experiences across web, mobile and in store. Clients include Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Dixons Retail and Monsoon Accessorize.
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