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Consumer acceptance of in-store location-based tracking on the rise

Customers are becoming more comfortable with being tracked in-store, as long as they gain a good customer experience as a result

Almost 30% of customers want retailers to use location-based technologies such as iBeacons to give them a personalised customer experience.

Research by Salesforce has revealed that customers want physical retail spaces to know who they are when they enter a building to feel more like they have a one-to-one relationship with the retailer.

Shoppers are also willing to share their personal information with the retailer to improve the shopping experience, and 39% of consumers said they would be happy for a retailer to use their personal information to provide a better service.

“Consumer expectations are higher than ever and with UK shoppers increasingly requesting a personalised service, retailers need to build ever-stronger relationships with their customers,” said Gavin Mee, area vice-president for enterprise in the UK and Ireland at Salesforce.

“In our hyper-connected world, it’s not possible to do this without technology. Consumers today want tech-enabled in-store experiences – in fact, over a quarter would like the shops they visit to know exactly who they are when they walk in through the door, thanks to location-based technologies,” he said.

Services such as price comparison sites and in-store Wi-Fi mean customers are now reviewing and comparing products from other stores while shopping. Some 87% of customers will have researched products before entering bricks-and-mortar stores, according to the research, which puts pressure on shop assistants to make the customer’s experience in-store a differentiator.

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Customers also admitted to feeling they are often better informed than employees in store, and 40% of consumers are more likely to shop with a different retailer if shop assistants are not equipped with technology helping them to provide a better service.

But shop floor employees have not been discounted, with 81% of customers asking for the opinion of in-store assistants before making purchases as customers shift towards wanting a luxury custom experience.

 “Our research shows a fundamental shift in the way consumers want to shop, with most people turning to their laptops or mobiles to do their research before they hit the high street,” Mee explained.  

“Shoppers also want a more complete experience that takes into account both their online and in-store interactions. Having a panoramic view of the customer across all channels will open up some amazing new sales opportunities for retailers."

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Interesting timing on this, as my boss was just complaining that he couldn’t go near a certain home improvement store without getting a location-based notification about it. I read another ITKE article recently that talked about the large number of UK mobile users who felt that it was the service provider’s responsibility to protect their PII, so it’s not really surprising that UK shoppers are leading the movement.
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