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Data for Discounts?

Would you be willing to trade your data for discounts?

In today’s digital society, the interaction between consumers and brands is becoming ever more complex. Over-the-counter purchases were once a relatively simple transaction, but bargain-conscious shoppers are increasingly moving online where a wealth of product information is available at the touch of a button.

The growth of mobile technology enables consumers to research, compare, purchase and review products anywhere and at any time—often without going anywhere near a physical store. For retailers, this has presented some real challenges, as competing with the level of interaction and personalization offered online is problematic.

However, despite the increase in online and mobile spending, it seems that the brick-and-mortar store’s reign is far from over. Rather, many shoppers are growing to expect a more interactive relationship with retailers throughout all stages of the purchasing journey, with a shifting focus toward omni-channel customer experiences both online and in-store.

This requires retailers to think more creatively about how they interact with customers, by leveraging existing mobile behavior to drive engagement. Intelligent data-gathering technologies that can be integrated into the store’s infrastructure have created a host of new channels for customer communication—capitalizing on a growing willingness from customers to interact with brands in-store through their smart devices.

This raises some pertinent questions about the level of privacy consumers are willing to give up in exchange for personalized promotions and the value they would need to receive in return. Interestingly, a major piece of research has indicated that not only are consumers far happier to share private data such as their mobile phone location than previously imagined, but that there is a real desire for the kind of in-store connected services this information could support.

The research, which was conducted by Current, powered by GE, in partnership with Retail Week, revealed that 79 percent of shoppers were willing to share their data or willing to share it with some reservations, suggesting that concerns about privacy and information sharing may have been overstated.

The survey asked 1,000 consumers across a variety of age ranges about their opinions of indoor positioning systems (IPS) within their retail experience. This type of system works by using technology such as Bluetooth® beacons, cameras or Visible Light Communication (VLC) to communicate with customers’ phones. Normally integrated into existing infrastructure, such as the lighting fittings, IPS enables retailers to pinpoint the customer’s location within one or two meters accuracy.

Not only were the majority of respondents happy to share information, 75 percent of shoppers commented that retailers could actually do a better job of providing navigation support around the store. Increasingly, it seems that customers are quite happy to engage with brands, as long as they receive something in return. For retailers, this can provide a vital means of clawing back some of the revenue lost to the Internet.

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