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Consumers rank ‘cool’ vs. ‘creepy’ technologies


Consumers may want a more personalized shopping experience, but some efforts in this regard creep them out.

Facial recognition technology that identifies a shopper as a loyal customer and relays their preferences to the in-store salesperson ranked as one of the top "creepy" technologies among consumers in the third annual “Creepy or Cool” report from RichRelevance. The study surveyed more than 3,500 global consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany about such customer experience innovations as artificial intelligence and in-store robots. (All stats in article are for U.S. consumers.)

In addition to not being wild about facial recognition technology, con-sumers are put off by companies that understand their shopping habits so well that they are able to use artificial intelligence / data to choose and order products on their behalf (69% rated it "creepy" and 15% rated it "cool"). Another top "creepy" technology: computer programs (such as chatbots) that use artificial intelligence to help answer customer service questions, rather than a real person (50% creepy" vs. 23% cool).

"Retailers need a technology cool factor but can’t afford to alienate shop-pers,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance.

Younger millennials (ages 18-29) responded much more positively to cutting-edge technologies, such as robots and virtual reality (VR) glasses than older generations. And the majority of U.S. respondents (63%) said they would allow retailers to collect more customer data to improve the customer experience – and 40% it should be collected anonymously.

In other survey findings:

• The top "cool" technologies for all U.S. consumers is the ability to search and order products verbally using voice recognition technology (46% cool vs. 22% creepy) and being able to use fingerprint scanning to pay for items and get automatic home delivery, all from the store floor (46% cool vs. 34% creepy.)

• The top "cool" technologies for millennials are digital screens, interac-tive mirrors and virtual reality glasses that display additional products which complement what a shopper is trying on (52% cool for millennials vs. 41% cool overall).

• Millennials also like robots that would guide them to specific products within store aisles upon request (51% cool for millennials vs. 40% cool overall).

• The ability to leave a store with purchases without actually checking out and have your account charged instead was viewed as cool by 45% of millennials vs. 39% overall.

• Europeans are more comfortable with new technologies than their American counterparts, and more willing to share customer data in ex-change for a superior customer experience (81% vs. 63%).
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