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Study: Shoppers ‘creeped out’ by in-store identifying, tracking features


San Francisco -- Shoppers think it is cool to get digital help finding relevant products and information – and navigating the store, according to a study by RichRelevance. But they are creeped out by digital capabilities that identify, track and use location and demographics, such as targeted advertisements based on facial recognition. In addition, the dressing room is the one area where personalized product information and recommendations are not welcome.

The study, “Creepy or Cool,” also breaks down attitudes by age group. Millennials are fairly aligned with their older counterparts when it comes to in-store personalization, although they are more comfortable with edgy capabilities such as facial recognition. One area of significant difference: dynamic pricing in the aisles. Millennial shoppers were the only age group to rate this feature more cool than creepy.

Here is how shoppers in the study rated various digital features:


• You can scan a product on your mobile device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items you might like. Overall rating: 76% 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: 69% cool

• Your location in the store triggers personalized product recommendations, promotions and coupons to pop up on your mobile device as you are shopping. Overall rating: 44% cool

Getting Creepy

• Products in the store don’t have price tags; instead digital screens display prices that are tailored just to you. Overall rating: 42% creepy

• Digital screens in each dressing room provide products recommended just for you based on your current items and past purchases. Overall rating: 55% creepy

• A salesperson unlocks the dressing room door before you arrive based on your detected location within the store. Overall rating: 62% creepy


• Facial 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: 73% creepy

• A salesperson greets you by name when you enter a store because your mobile phone signals your entrance. Overall rating: 74% creepy

Facial recognition technology identifies you as a high-value shopper and relays this information to a sales associate. Overall rating: 75% creepy

Shoppers want digital personalization when they are ready to engage,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance., a provider of omnichannel personalization. “They may not be ready for personalized messages the moment they walk in the door or even when they hit the dressing room, but our survey suggests they welcome relevant information and promotions when they are making a purchase decision.”

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