Consumers Catch On To 'Open' And 'Transparent' Buzzwords

Consumers have latched on to the words “open” and “transparency,” especially when it comes to hearing and learning about technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which they don’t completely understand. Some 80% believe companies should tell consumers how and when they use artificial intelligence, yet only 67% are somewhat familiar with the term.

RichRelevance CEO Carl Theobald called AI a complicated topic that's not easy to simplify.

The survey of 1,037 U.S. consumers, conducted by RichRelevance in May 2018, found that 61% called the type of facial recognition technology “creepy” that identifies them as “loyal” customers as soon as they enter their preferences to the salesperson in-store.

Voice assistants were deemed “creepy,” but not to millennials. Overall, 41% called the VA technology "creepy," compared with only 32% of millennials.

Not surprising, shoppers ages 18 to 29 are more willing to embrace new technologies like AI, chatbots, augmented reality and facial recognition. About 66% of this group feel that AI-based personalization is valuable.

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The findings also suggest that 77% of those who participated in the survey are more willing to share data in return for a personal experience.

Along with the study’s results, RichRelevance launched a platform running on AI named Xen AI. Built with an “open” reporting system, it tells marketers at companies like REI, Office Depot, Barneys NY, Williams Sonoma, and Hewlett-Packard why it served the personalized content at any given time.  

Theobald calls Xen AI “transparent” and “open.” It offers a data science workbench to allow teams at brands and retailers to upload algorithms and strategies they build in-house into Xen AI system.

Republic Tea, an early adopter of the Xen AI platform, uses its customers’ anonymous data to gain real-time information on purchases, clicks and page views on their website. The platform updates every 10 seconds.

Theobald said marketers can export the data for other media campaigns such as search. Recommendations and personalized content can be inserted into email campaigns. The content is rendered within the email in real-time. It doesn’t use old images. Marketers also can gain recommendations based on the data, optimization and logic. 

With all this data being used, consumers also want to know how companies use their information. Yes, despite recent news about how companies misuse customer data, 59% of Americans remain willing to share data in return for a better customer experience and 40% say it should be collected anonymously. This is on par with a 2017 study that found 63% said they would allow retailers to collect more customer data to improve the customer experience.

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