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GPS Business News
Ludovic Privat

OpinionLab research finds that 8 out of 10 U.S. shoppers do not want stores to track their movements via smartphone.

Data security (68.5%) and spying (67%) are top concerns cited by consumers around cellphone tracking in stores. Nearly half (43%) of shoppers are less likely to shop at a favorite retailer if the brand implements a tracking program.

The study, conducted in March 2014, is based on feedback from U.S. 1,042 consumers.

Nearly all (88%) 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%); tracking feels like spying (67%); and retailers will use the data exclusively to their own benefit (60.5%).

A vast majority of shoppers (81%) do not trust retailers to keep data private and secure. Surprisingly, shoppers are most likely to trust local stores (15%) with shopper tracking data. Consumers are also twice as likely to trust upscale brands (10%) with data when compared to mass-market retailers (4%) – although trust is dramatically low for both.

While studies show that Millennials are more comfortable sharing personal data with brands online, this does not appear to translate to in-store tracking. Millennials are aligned with other generations when it comes to the acceptability of tracking smartphones (77% say it is not acceptable) and even more distrusting of retailers’ ability to keep data private and secure (76% do not trust retailers to keep data private and secure).

Opt-in consent
When asked about the best way for retailers to approach in-store tracking, 64% of consumers said that the best approach is opt-in versus a mere 12% who stated that shoppers should be automatically tracked. When it comes time to participate, though, consumers get cold feet. A full 63% report that they would not opt-in to be tracked – even at their favorite retail stores.

Consumers also expect rewards for sharing their in-store whereabouts. Across the board, consumers expect to be directly compensated for their participation, either by receiving cost saving and price discounts (61%) or by getting free products (53%).

The poll by OpinionLab also shows that retailers might endanger their reputation in rolling out such services. Indeed, the study found that 44% of consumers say a tracking program would make them less likely to shop with the brand. A comparable number (48%) say it would have no impact, and only 8% stated it would make them more likely to shop at the at store in the future.

While 2014 was promised by many to be the year of iBeacon and proximity marketing it does not seem so clear that consumers will play the game set by retail technology gurus.

This article can be found here.

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