Creepy or Cool: New RichRelevance Study Reveals How Consumers React to ‘The Store of the Future’

Survey of over 1,000 US consumers finds that “cool” features help shoppers discover relevant products, information and get through the store; “creepy” ones identify, target and track


San Francisco, CA— May 5, 2015— RichRelevance®, the global leader in omnichannel personalization, today released a new study, “Creepy or Cool”, that reveals consumer attitudes towards digital enhancements to the store shopping experience. The study finds that shoppers think it is cool to get digital help finding relevant products and information – and navigating the store. But they are creeped out by digital capabilities that identify, track and use location and demographics, such as targeted advertisements for consumers based on facial recognition. In addition, the dressing room is the one area where personalized product information and recommendations are not welcome.

“Shoppers want digital personalization when they are ready to engage,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “They may not be ready for personalized messages the moment they walk in the door or even when they hit the dressing room, but our survey suggests they welcome relevant information and promotions when they are making a purchase decision.”

‪The study also breaks down attitudes by age group. Millennials are fairly aligned with their older counterparts when it comes to in-store personalization, although they are more comfortable with edgy capabilities such as facial recognition. One area of significant difference: dynamic pricing in the aisles (the practice of offering different prices for the same product)‬. Millennial shoppers were the only age group to rate this feature more cool than creepy.

Creepy or Cool: Key Findings

According to Forrester, nearly 7 in 10 shoppers now use a mobile device while in the store, and retailers are investing heavily in new technologies to make the in-store shopping experience better than ever. This survey of 1,016 consumers was conducted in April 2015, and locates nine digital store capabilities along a continuum of cool and creepy. Highlights include:


  • You can scan a product on your mobile device to see product reviews and recommendations for other items you might like. Overall rating: 76% cool
  • An interactive map on your mobile phone shows exactly where items are located and charts your most efficient path through the store. Overall rating: 69% cool
  • Your location in the store triggers personalized product recommendations, promotions and coupons to pop up on your mobile device as you are shopping. Overall rating: 44% cool

Getting Creepy

  • Products in the store don’t have price tags; instead digital screens display prices that are tailored just to you. Overall rating: 42% creepy
  • Digital screens in each dressing room provide products recommended just for you based on your current items and past purchases. Overall rating: 55% creepy
  • A salesperson unlocks the dressing room door before you arrive based on your detected location within the store. Overall rating: 62% creepy


  • Facial recognition technology identifies age and gender to target advertisements on digital screens. For example, an eye cream promotion for an older female shopper. Overall rating: 73% creepy
  • A salesperson greets you by name when you enter a store because your mobile phone signals your entrance. Overall rating: 74% creepy
  • Facial recognition technology identifies you as a high-value shopper and relays this information to a sales associate. Overall rating: 75% creepy

An infographic is available at

“Our study shows that retailers need to focus on digital store capabilities that drive engagement and convenience by making sure the right products and content are always available to shoppers,” Kegley continued. “Retailers have a huge opportunity to leverage their biggest asset, the store, to gain an edge when it comes to customer experience.”

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This post was written by RichRelevance

ABOUT RichRelevance
RichRelevance is the global leader in experience personalization, driving digital growth and brand loyalty for more than 200 of the world’s largest B2C and B2B brands and retailers. The company leverages advanced AI technologies to bridge the experience gap between marketing and commerce to help digital marketing leaders stage memorable experiences that speak to individuals – at scale, in real time, and across the customer lifecycle. Headquartered in San Francisco, RichRelevance serves clients in 42 countries from 9 offices around the globe.
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