Terrific or Terrible? At What Point Does the Customer Dread the “Future Store”? [Infografic]


Photo: Jamie McCaffrey

We have already noted how digital point of sales have left some open questions. What technology is allowed to do is one of these. Push messages on your smartphone, controlled by beacons without your permission, are known to be deemed creepy by customers.

Paradoxically, personalised offers are in demand, as long as they give the customer an advantage. So, the store of the future has to achieve a balancing act – have personalised offers at the ready without creating a weird atmosphere.

RichRelevance asked 1000 North American consumers where their boundaries are, in their “Creepy or Cool” survey based on in-store services – what is great service, where is the border between that and harassment?

Customers like this… :

  • 76% – Scanning a product to read reviews and recommendations
  • 69% – In-store navigation
  • 44% – Push message in store, pointing to sales, vouchers and personalised offers

… A bit creepy:

  • 42% – Personalised prices on digital displays
  • 55% – Digital screens in changing rooms which suggest products on the basis of current and past purchases
  • 62% – A sales person opens a changing booth for the customer before they even get there, based on their location in the store

The true horror:

  • 73% – Facial recognition technology, which makes personalised ads of digital screens possible based on age and sex
  • 74% – Being identified by smartphone and greeted with your name by sales staff
  • 75% – Facial recognition which identifies particularly wealthy customers and passes this information on to sales staff

The infogrpahic shows more results:

Creepy vs Cool im Future Store
Graphic via getelastic.com

Conclusion: just because it is possible, it really doesn’t mean it’s ok

To a certain extent, this is just about good form: if the customer can’t see where the digital screen or the sales person got their personal information, things get uncomfortable very quickly. But if they have given permission for push messages, these are not viewed as invasive.

It is often simply a matter of timing. Being greeted by name upon entering to a store crosses the border of good taste for everyone (except of course regulars). But if the sale persons addresses the customer by name at the checkout while they swipe their loyalty card, this is entirely appropriate.

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