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Retail Wire
by Tom Ryan

According to a recent survey from OpinionLab, eight out of 10 shoppers do not want stores to track their movements via smartphone. Only 12 percent of respondents stated that shoppers should be automatically tracked. 

When asked about the best way for retailers to approach in-store tracking, 64 percent said that the best approach is opt in. At the same time, however, about the same percentage — 63 percent — report that they would not opt in to be tracked even at their favorite retail stores.

The survey of 1,042 consumers, conducted in March 2014, also found:

  • Eighty-eight percent of those who disapprove of tracking remain unswayed by retailers’ promises to use tracking data to improve the customer experience;
  • The biggest concerns are that retailers will not keep the data secure (68.5 percent); tracking feels like spying (67 percent); and retailers will use the data exclusively to their own benefit (60.5 percent);
  • Eighty-one percent do not trust retailers to keep data private and secure. Local stores were trusted with data the most, although at only 15 percent. Ten percent trusted upscale brands and four percent mass chains;
  • Millennials had similar reservations as other generations about in-store tracking and concerns around retail’s ability to keep their data private and secure;
  • Forty-four percent indicated a tracking program would make them less likely to shop with the brand;
  • Across the board, consumers expect to be directly compensated for their participation, either by receiving cost saving and price discounts (61 percent) or by getting free products (53 percent).

In a column last week for Advertising Age, Jonathan Levitt, CMO of OpinionLab, noted that retailers have long been tracking shoppers in-store with cameras. E-commerce sites have also been using pixels and cookies to track shopper behavior for years.

“What is new is shoppers’ attitudes towards tracking — and their trust level with retailers,” he wrote. Although privacy issues were raised in the early 2000’s over use of cookies for tracking, today’s highly publicized data breaches are intensifying the conversation.

Mr. Levitt believes consumers will accept tracking if “retailers are transparent and focus on making the shopping experience better” but that there will be “fast, furious and negative” reactions if retailers conceal their activities.


This article can be found here.

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