Personalisation is now widely regarded as a way for “bricks” retailers to offer customers a seamless experience between the digital and physical worlds. However, brands need to be aware that we need to feel comfortable with how things are marketed to us.
Recent research illustrates that British shoppers are embracing technology: 14% of us would use cameras in fitting rooms to share with friends via apps or social media, 22% are interested in on screen offers in fitting rooms and 40% of us want to check if a products is available in-store via an app. But all of these things are baby steps and as easy for the average shopper to accept, as contactless payments or click and collect.
The really big stuff is just around the corner with brands planning to get ‘closer’ to us through improved personalisation. Some developments currently being mooted have the ring of science fiction about them, for example fashion and accessories that can ‘read’ emotions as we journey around a store, enabling the shop to suggest purchases or activities in line with our moods. Perhaps a calming massage on the fifth floor or a hot beverage in the basement?
This makes me question whether the store is coming too far into our personal space. Is it all a bit creepy? After all, what we all want, is to feel that our relationship with a brand is on tap – a conversation that we can start if we want to and more importantly switch off when we feel like being alone.
Accenture’s Technology Lab has a word for the creepiness that many of us feel, it’s ‘hyper-personalisation’, a devastatingly accurate data cocktail leading to a level of consumer understanding that would shock most of us. It seems as if personalisation is about to cross a marketing Rubicon into territory where progress is not answering consumer demand but is progress for its own sake. Maybe it’s time to let the consumer catch up?