How to Provide Personalization in the “Creep Factor” Era

Generally, data gathering is not a big issue for most consumers. We usually know it’s happening and 75% of us are perfectly fine with it as long as see a valuable return in exchange. In a recent Accenture survey, they found that 3 in 4 online shoppers prefer retailers that use personal information to improve the shopping experience. Personalization is the cornerstone to success in retail today, but for personalization to work well, retailers must avoid what’s known as the “creep factor.”

The creep factor, as defined by Teradata, is when the line between context and relevancy becomes blurred or outright ignored—it’s “that queasy feeling you get when someone uses sensitive contextual information in an effort to personalize an interaction”— and it contributes directly to the level of trust a customer has with you. Misusing shopper data will result in the shopper feeling alarmed and they may even stop shopping with your brand altogether. As both retailers and shoppers become more accustomed to deeper levels of personalization, it’s critical that retailers draw clear lines and exercise restraint to avoid creepiness and losing customer trust.

For CloudTags, improving the shopping experience means implementing shopper-led in-store technology that gathers actionable insights and allows retailers to tailor the experience to each shopper. In our Connected Stores, we’ve used tablets as the primary tools for our in-store experiences for two primary reasons.

  1. Dedicated in-store tablets mean far fewer barriers to entry. Personal devices vary wildly shopper to shopper and not every device has the features necessary to get the full experience. Because In-Store Remarketing can be triggered by the actions shoppers take during a store visit, adding a digital in-store tech is integral to post store visit attribution later online. Dedicated tablets have been the best way to ensure proper data capture for the retailer and consistent shopping experiences for the customer.
  2. Retail branded tablets have been the first step to building trust, which is crucial in the emerging market of highly-personalized in-store digital experiences. The tablets help shoppers feel more at ease knowing that neither us nor our brands have access to any sensitive data on their personal devices. Shoppers simply tell us what they’re looking for and then we build off that information to create a profile, even if the shopper chooses to opt-out of sharing their personal data at the end.

As digitally powered in-store experiences evolve and become more central to a retail strategy, retailers will find themselves toeing the line between valuable and creepy, and with all the information available to them, it may be impossible not to. But retailers must establish hard and fast rules about how they use the data they gather so they can maintain trust with shoppers and continue to gather data that will allow them to provide fun, intelligent experiences.