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Shopper Privacy: How Far Can Retailers Go?

By: Ed King, VP, Strategy

As we help our clients create the future of retail experience, it’s important for us to understand the heartbeat of the shopping public at any given time. Nothing is more polarizing in the retail world than privacy.

In an effort to bring a more relevant, personalized, contextual experience to their stores, retailers are striving to learn more information on shoppers’ preferences, habits, and behaviors in store. Technology allows this to happen—in spades.

The delicate balance of privacy protection and shopper insights is starting to present a conundrum for retailers. As they leverage technologies to glean insights, we suspected customers were growing wary of the personal intrusion created by such information gathering.

We created a small survey to take the pulse of the shopping public and better understand the value exchange necessary to allow retailers a peek inside the behaviors of shoppers. The results were, shall we say, unexpected.

As you’ll see, both what information is collected and the methodology behind how it is collected has a big impact. As one respondent put it, “Collecting body language data seems like an invasion of privacy. It crosses a personal boundary.”

Two shoppers in three, however, were willing to allow some data to be collected if they were compensated in some way for it (Figure 1.0). As we continue to build truly connected retail experiences, these measurable insights into the psyche of shoppers help shed light on how these connections can be most successful and build true brand advocates.

 

Figure 1.0

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