Personalisation: What customers find cool and creepy

Personalisation: What customers find cool and creepy Rachael Power writes for TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.

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With consumer personalisation becoming even more advanced, it’s worth stopping to ask whether your efforts are really adding value to the customer – or, whether they’re simply just creepy.

New research from personalisation specialists RichRelevance claims to know exactly what the right level of personalisation is, however, without being overly invasive. Its new Cool or Creepy? report summarises the thoughts of over 2,000 customers in the UK and US when it comes to instore tech. 

The changing room is one element of the high street shopping experience for fashion retailers that has seen a real dearth of innovation

The findings show that consumers are happy when tech is used to enhance the decision making processes, including fingerprint scanning to pay for goods and smart mirrors in changing rooms that would allow them to virtually change outfits.

Other tech capabilities consumers felt positively about was the ability to scan a product via their smartphone, for example, to see reviews and a further 52% said they’d be open to having offers pop up on their phones.

Around 43% of those surveyed also said they’d like to get digital coupons for products they looked at but didn’t buy.

‘Creepy’ tech

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

They also said they would find it weird if a sales assistant greeted them by name, if their mobile device signaled their presence in the shop.

For many smaller retailers, this kind of technology is of course not yet attainable; but for larger brands, they should be careful when researching what kinds of personalisation tech to implement.

Retailers must be careful

VP and General Manager at RichRelevance Matthieu Chouard said retailers are walking “a fine line” when innovating with instore technology. But, there are parts of the tech already being embraced. 

“The changing room is one element of the high street shopping experience for fashion retailers that has seen a real dearth of innovation. Smart changing rooms tend to be trialled in far-flung pilot stores, but clearly there is now a real appetite for more ambitious interactive technologies in-store.

“There’s no reason why the personalised recommendations being given to shoppers via tablet devices on the shop floor can’t be translated to enhance the changing room experience too. By ignoring this changing room, retailers are missing an opportunity to better serve customers and ultimately, sell more product.”

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