Smartphone Users Really Don't Want Stores Stalking Them

by Nikhil Joseph 0

An article at eMarketer reports the results of an recent study surveying smartphone users regarding their attitudes towards in-store tracking. While 50% of those surveyed claimed to be not open to retailers tracking their movement in-store through their mobile phones, 24% didn’t have a strong opinion and 27% said they were open to it if given the right incentives. Privacy was cited as the No. 1 reason for shoppers to oppose in-store tracking. Among the 27% who said they were open to it, receiving special offers or coupons, shortening checkout time, and being alerted to products on sale were the biggest incentives.

“According to respondents, the most acceptable ways for retailers to use in-store tracking were related to—surprise, surprise—price, with nearly nine in 10 citing receiving coupons and special offers as OK reasons. Smartphone users also showed high interest in getting alerts when products they were interested in went on sale. Convenience played a role, too, with shorter checkout times a top draw.

These findings are interesting for a number of reasons. Retailers are looking to new in-store sensory technologies to build the perfect ‘omnichannel’ experience—one where the consumers can expect a seamless and interactive retail experience irrespective of whether they engage with the brand through their phones, desktops or in-store. Retailers want to be able to offer personalized recommendations and special coupons to reward consumers in-store based on their preferences and previous shopping history. Technologies like Blue Tooth Energy (BLE) make it possible to do so by establishing contact with the consumer’s smartphone, once the consumer has given permission. The challenge for retailers will be to convince consumers that deploying sensory technologies will be done in a manner that is transparent and will actually enrich the shopping experience.

Here at Mercator Advisory Group, we think these technologies have tremendous potential to remake retail as we know it today. In an upcoming report by the Emerging Technologies Advisory Service titled “Connecting Loyalty, Mobile, and Payments: A Framework for the Omnichannel Age,” we examine the strategic implications of these technologies and how merchants can adopt them to bolster their value proposition.

Overview by Nikhil Joseph, Analyst, Emerging Technology Advisory Services

To read the full story, go to eMarketer.