Smart tech embraced for in-store purchase decisions: report

Consumers are happy when technology is used to enhance their decision making processes when purchasing in-store, such as fingerprint scanners or smart mirrors that virtually change outfits, according to new research.

This is according to the second annual ‘Creepy or Cool’ report from RichRelevance, revealing how consumers feel about new technologies being used as part of their in-store shopping experience.

The survey asked over 2,000 consumers which technologies they found creepy or cool – giving an insight into what UK consumers expect as part of their high street shopping experience.

The findings show that consumers are happy when technology is used to enhance their decision making processes when purchasing in-store. This includes technologies such as fingerprint scanning to pay for goods and smart mirrors in changing rooms that would allow the user to virtually change outfits.

Despite being open to new things, UK shoppers are less comfortable with more invasive technologies such a facial recognition software that would identify them to a staff member once in-store.

Matthieu Chouard, VP and General Manager at RichRelevance, said “Retailers walk a fine line when innovating with in-store technology. Clearly UK consumers are looking for a more seamless personalised experience that helps them with their decision making progress.

However, this can be taken too far – more invasive technologies are seen as ‘creepy’ by UK shoppers and this could have an adverse effect on buying behaviour.”

So, what’s creepy and what’s cool? Here are the key findings that show what consumers think ‘Creepy or Cool’

What shoppers think is ‘cool’

  • Almost half (47.5 per cent) thought fingerprint technology that would allow them to pay for goods and get automatic home delivery would be ‘cool’
  • 62 per cent of shoppers want to be able to scan a product on their device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items they may like
  • 52 per cent of shoppers are open to receiving pop up offers on their mobile device, triggered when they enter a store
  • A third of shoppers would like to see product recommendations included on print or email receipts that relates to their purchase
  • 43 per cent would like to receive a digital coupon for a product they looked at but didn’t buy after leaving the store
  • 42 per cent would like to see interactive changing room mirrors that model potential outfits on their image

What shoppers think is ‘creepy’

  • 75 per cent of shoppers thought that facial recognition software that would allow them to be targeted in-store with relevant offers was a step too far. However, this figure was down slightly from 2015 (77 per cent) which may indicate changing attitudes as this technology becomes more prevalent
  • 75 per cent of shoppers thought it ‘creepy’ for a sales assistant to greet them by name in store, if their mobile phone or tablet device had signalled their presence

Matthieu Chouard continued, “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.”