Consumers Say In-Store Facial Recognition Creepy, Not Cool

Targeted messages in physical stores based on beacons and online data are becoming more prevalent and accurate. Consumers are a little creeped out at the prospect of retailers using technologies like facial recognition to identify them, but they don't mind if retailers link a search on their phone to a coupon or discount.

RichRelevance Wednesday released its second annual "Creepy or Cool" survey of U.S. consumers. The 2016 study of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers found shoppers expect to use their mobile phones as part of the store experience, but they are not ready to participate in a real-life Minority Report scenario.

Some 67% of American consumers use their mobile phone to shop, and the use skews higher for the younger shopping demographic, ages 18 to 29, with 79% shopping on their mobile phone.

Some 73% use their mobile phone to research and review products while they are shopping in the aisles, and 23% use it frequently while shopping. Here again, younger shoppers are more likely to turn to their mobile phones, with 84% using their mobile phone in the store.  

Age has become a major factor. Millennials express stronger opinions on both creepy and cool features. Facial recognition technology that identify the individual as a high-value shopper and relays this information to a salesperson is definitely creepy. In fact 67% call this tech creepy, with Millennials skewing higher at 71%.

A salesperson who greets the consumer by name on the store floor because the mobile phone or app signals their presence is creepy. Overall, 64% call this tech creepy, with Millennials skewing on par.

The "cool" technology includes the ability to scan or take a photo of a product with a mobile device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items you might like, or after leaving the store receive a coupon for a product you looked at but didn’t purchase.

Even "cooler" is the technology that triggers personalized product information, relevant content, recommendations and discounts to pop up on your mobile device as you walk the aisles. And the digital screens in each dressing room that show products that complement the item that you are trying on are even cooler.

2 comments about "Consumers Say In-Store Facial Recognition Creepy, Not Cool".
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  1. Anni Paul from BoscoSystems, June 22, 2016 at 9:55 p.m.

    I don't understand why this is creepy. Eventually, it will be the norm everywhere -- airports, conventional halls, concerts, or any place where security is an issue. Retail is fine too. It makes for better and safer experiences all the way around. Don't pass up on a major tech advantage just because it seems "creepy" in theory. That's backwards thinking of the highest order.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 23, 2016 at 3:13 p.m.

    More than creepy. It should be illegal with a heavy handed Do Not Track. No one, absolutely no one has the right to follow anyone else anywhere (let's leave the exceptions to the police). Why in the world does anyone want to be told exactly what to do - strong influence/threaten, what to think in every aspect of their lives and be controlled ? 1984 is not fiction.

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