Consumers are generally hesitant to share their personal data, especially amid rising privacy concerns regarding how retailers and third-parties might use that information. Retailers, on the other hand, want as much information about their customers as they can possibly get, in an effort to improve their marketing efforts as well as the ability to tailor shopping experiences to customers’ tastes.
But a new study released by retail business insights publisher RIS News suggests that most people don’t mind divulging at least some of their data if they can get something out of it.
RIS’ study, which sought to uncover the behaviors and preferences that build emotional bonds between consumers and retailers, found that nearly half of the consumers polled—45 percent—said they’re not willing to let retailers digitally identify them through location-based technology while shopping in stores.
|Percentage of consumers who said they’d allow the use of digital identification technology while visiting stores.|
However, even an even higher percentage—56 percent—reported they’re at least somewhat likely to allow retailers to digitally identify them in-store if it means receiving special promotions and offers. Six percent said they’re “extremely likely” to do so, while 12 percent said they’re “very likely” and 38 percent reported being “somewhat likely" to accept this exchange if an offer is made by retailers for that information.
The location-based services customers are most likely to allow include being sent reminders to redeem an offer or reward (48 percent), receiving alerts and offers while they’re in a store (41 percent) or having the ability to send a request for help message when they’re in a store (22 percent).
Moreover, it appears consumers have no problem parting with some personal details if an offer is appealing enough. This includes a customer’s birthday (39 percent), their favorite social media outlet (38 percent), their favorite drinks (35 percent) and their preferred source of entertainment (31 percent).
Other information, however, remains off limits for most shoppers regardless of what’s offered. These most often include providing household income (35 percent), personal contact information (29 percent) and social media contact information (27 percent).
One thing’s for sure: the digital era has disrupted the shopping landscape immensely in recent years. According to the study, shoppers are now turning to the Internet (73 percent) and smartphones (61 percent) for more of their shopping needs, while visiting physical stores (31 percent) and shopping malls (54 percent) have declined (favorite online retailers, according to the study, are Walmart, Amazon and Target, at 63 percent, 59 percent and 45 percent, respectively).
As it turns out, online retailing appears to have conditioned shoppers to expect personalized experiences, and as a result, these consumers appear more inclined to have retailers connect with them, especially if it means experiencing more in the way of tailored recommendations (34 percent), or being targeted for promotions such as the sale of previously owned products (31 percent) or special in-store events (30 percent).
In other areas, the digital world still presents plenty of cause for concern, as shoppers expressed being leery about shopping experiences where they’re tracked without their permission (58 percent), or the use of facial recognition (56 percent) or artificial intelligence (55 percent) technologies.
The study also revealed that 70 percent of shoppers at least sometimes use a retailer’s app or consult its website on their phones while shopping in a store. Shoppers said they most often do so when searching for sales and promotions (41 percent), when searching for coupons (39 percent) or for comparing prices (38 percent). Among these shoppers, nearly three-quarters—71 percent—said they’d allow retailers to use location-based alerts while they’re in stores.
RIS’ “2019 Shopper Megatrends Study” surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers in June.