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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 09, 2014

Consumers do not want to be stalked in-store via smartphone

Consumers are less likely to shop in a store that has a smartphone tracking program in place, even if it is a favorite retailer, according to a new survey from OpinionLab.

by Helen Leggatt

More than three-quarters (77%) of consumers believe it is unacceptable to track their behavior in-store via their smartphone, found OpinionLab's survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers. In fact, 44% of consumers said they would be less likely to shop at a retail store if they knew they were being tracked.

So anti-tracking are many that, if their favorite brand were to implement a tracking program in-store, just 38% would participate.

"These are firm no's," says OpinionLab, "nearly all (88%) of those who disapprove of tracking remain un-swayed by retailers' promises to use tracking data to improve the customer experience."

The biggest turn-offs about in-store tracking are concerns about whether retailers will keep consumer data secure (68.5%), that it feels like spying (67%) and that retailers will use data collected purely for their own benefit (60.5%).

The upshot is, consumers want the choice of whether to be tracked, or not. Two-thirds of respondents believe opt-in was the way for retailers to operate a tracking program, with just 12% who said shoppers should be tracked automatically. However, even this approach does not guarantee wide-scale acceptance as 63% would not opt-in - even in their favorite retail store.

"It's not that consumers don't want a better experience in-store, it's a simple fact that retailers just haven't earned the right," writes Jonathan Levitt, CMO of OpinionLab, on the company blog. "There is a lack of evidence that retailers have yet to effectively sell consumers on the tangible benefits of in-store tracking. While there are of course shining examples of brands (Apple anyone?) that have proven that customers do have a stake in building the in-store experience, the majority of the pack hasn't shown that the link between a great in-store experience and realized benefits is in-store tracking methods. And that's a major obstacle for brick-and-mortar stores today."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: consumer experience, in-store, mobile, privacy, retail, smartphone, tracking

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