RichRelevance study finds younger US millennials welcome biometrics

RichRelevance has released its third annual “Creepy or Cool” international survey that found that younger US millennials (age 18-29) responded much more positively to advanced technologies such as facial recognition, robots and VR glasses than older generations.

The survey offers insight into consumer preferences and opinions regarding the latest technologies designed to improve the retail customer experience.

Overall, the research showed that while consumers are willing to share more data for a better experience, there is no fast and easy solution for improving the shopping experience.

“Retailers need a technology cool factor but can’t afford to alienate shoppers,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “This survey offers new insight into consumer attitudes and preferences to help retailers determine which customer experience initiatives should take priority – and which ones risk damaging their brand.”

Conducted in June, the company surveyed more than 3,500 global consumers in the US, UK, France & Germany on customer experience innovations, including opinions on data collection.

Survey respondents also ranked several new customer experience innovations as creepy, cool, or indifferent.

Overall, the survey found that Europeans are more comfortable with new technologies than their American counterparts, and more willing to share customer data in exchange for a greater customer experience (81 percent versus 63 percent).

Sixty-three percent of US respondents said they would allow retailers to collect more customer data to improve the customer experience, while 40 percent said it should be collected anonymously.

Forty-six percent of US consumers said the ability to search and order products verbally using voice recognition technology was cool, while 22 percent found it creepy.

Additionally, 46 percent of US consumers said the use of fingerprint scanning to pay for items and get automatic home delivery was cool, compared to 34 percent of Americans who found it creepy.

Forty-one percent of millennials found robots that guide you to specific products within store aisles upon request cool, while 40 percent of overall respondents said they were cool.

Sixty-nine percent of US consumers said that facial recognition technology that identifies you as a loyal customer and relays your preferences to the salesperson in-store was creepy, while 18 percent considered it cool.

Sixty-nine percent of US respondents said that companies that use AI technology and data to choose and order products on your behalf are creepy, while 15 percent said it was cool.

Fifty percent of US consumers were creeped out by computer programs that use AI to help you with customer service questions, rather than a real person, while 23 percent considered it cool.

“One important thing to keep in mind is that creepy can simply mean that something is too relevant or hits too close to home,” said Kegley. “Retailers should take note as this may indicate areas that will be valuable in the near future as consumers grow accustomed to new technologies.”

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