77% of Shoppers OK with Sharing Location for Targeting, IF...

As mobile technology for in-store shopper targeting becomes more refined, the question of consumer acceptance looms large.

The obvious issue is that just because a shopper with a phone can be targeted technologically doesn't necessarily mean they should be.

But then again, it appears many shoppers seem quite open to the idea, depending on what messages are sent to them.

It turns out that a majority (77%) of consumers would be willing to share their smartphone location data as long as they received enough value in return, according to a new study conducted by ResearchNow for Swirl, a company that markets in-store technology to retailers.

Many consumers already have figured out how to set their phones to receive alerts for deals as they near certain stores. That ka-ching and various other sounds notify shoppers that a hot deal is nearby.



The general challenge for these alerts is matching the right deal to the right person at the right time. An alert while on a highway near a shopping center while driving 60 miles an hour or one for a totally unrelated product totally misses the mark.

It’s not that these alerts aren’t being sent and received, with the majority (67%) having received at least one in the last six month, according to the ResearchNow survey of 1,000 smartphone owners. Many of those alerts seem to work, since most (81%) of those were opened most of the time and 79% of those shoppers consequently made a purchase at least once.

As you might guess, the top reason shopping alerts are ignored is they were not relevant (41%) to the consumer’s interests or location, followed by not providing enough value (37%) or being annoying (16%).

There also is the issue of from whom the shopping alerts come and what amount of information consumers want to provide.

Regarding the issue of who consumers would trust with knowing their smartphone location, retailers fared quite well, and ahead of social and location information apps. Consumers trust:

  • 65% -- Favorite retailer
  • 45% -- Shopping/deals app
  • 42% -- Google
  • 37% -- Social app
  • 28% -- Local information app

And for retailers trying to get more consumers to use their apps, the ResearchNow survey shows that many (80%) shoppers would use the app more often while shopping in a store if the apps delivered sales and promotion alerts.

And back to the notion of relevance, a majority (62%) said they’d use the apps more if they provided content that was more relevant to their interests and location.

Successful mobile targeting is going to be less about the technology and more about the consumer value. Opting out is just too easy.

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