Personalization is certainly a trend that isn't going anywhere any time soon. That said, there is a fine line between personalization that consumers consider "cool" and personalization that consumers consider "creepy."
To help Web professionals better understand this line, RichRelevance has released its second annual "Creepy or Cool" survey on U.S. consumers. The 2016 study, which was conducted in May, shows that consumers expect to use their mobile phones as part of the store experience, but they are most open to mobile and digital innovations that allow them to choose when and how to engage. That said, technologies that are used to track and target customers in-stores remain unpopular.
"For the second year in the row, the study finds that shoppers think it is cool to get digital help finding relevant products and information - on their own terms when they choose to engage," said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. "However, they are creeped out by digital capabilities that identify and track without a clear value offered in return."
The study found that 67 percent of consumers use their mobile phone to shop, with usage tipping higher for younger shopping demographics. What's more, 73 percent of consumers use their mobile phone while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, with younger shoppers also more likely to use their mobile device while in store.
When it comes to personalization tactics that are considered cool, the study found that 79 percent of respondents think that it is cool to enable in-store shoppers to scan a product with their mobile device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items. Moreover, 52 percent of respondents think it's cool to receive a digital coupon for a product they looked at but didn't purchase after they leave a store, while 50 percent of respondents think that it is cool to get a receipt that includes personalized product recommendations after they check out.
Another cool tactic, according to the study's respondents, is having the location of a shopper in a brick-and-mortar store trigger personalized product information, relevant content, recommendations and discounts on their mobile device. Plus, 41 percent of respondents think that digital screens in dressing rooms that show products that complement the item they are trying on is cool, while 32 percent think it's cool for a salesperson to be able to offer more helpful suggestions because they are able to see what the shopper has previously browsed and bought - both online and in-stores.
When it comes to creepy tactics, however, the study shows that 67 percent of respondents think that facial recognition technology that identifies someone as a high value shopper and relays that information to a salesperson is creepy. Lastly, 64 percent of respondents think it's creepy to be greeted by name on the store floor because their mobile phone or app signaled their presence.
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