Study: Consumers Increasingly Will Give Personal Info for Deals

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Consumers are increasingly willing to give up personal information if it will help them get a deal or improve their shopping experience. The vast majority of consumers expect companies to know their purchase history and retail experience. More than 80% do in fact, according to a new study from ClickFox.

Additionally, more than 70% of respondents were happy to share location in exchange for giveaways, discounts, and improved service while 71.3% said it was fine if a company knew their location. Finally, 84.3% of people want organizations to use this data to improve their customer experience.

The study’s results are similar to those of a Street Fight poll conducted last month, which found that 50.7 percent of consumers would consent to a smartphone app that followed their every move if they were to receive half off of all store purchases. Of the total respondents in that poll, those inclined to accommodate ambient location tracking included 61% of individuals aged 18-34.

The study’s numbers, which generally reflect the trend of consumers becoming more comfortable with trading personal information for discounts or services, present new opportunities for businesses, Jeff Gossman, vice president of product management for ClickFox, told Street Fight.

“We definitely see an ability now to tie in a better experience locally if you can combine the data, ” Gossman said. “Stores can use location-based data to empower employees, whether it’s a clerk in a grocery store or a employee at Best Buy, to help the buyer enable their experience. I think there’s a real opportunity to connect with consumers, to keep them coming back to your store.”

Getting this consumer connection right is difficult. It’s not surprising that in a vacuum people say they are fine sacrificing some privacy for an improved shopping experience, but this is all about the specifics. Consumers want those deals to be targeted specifically to them. This is where technology comes in, parsing which person goes with which deal.

We aren’t there yet. Mom-and-pop shops have an advantage because consumers generally trust them more, but harnessing all the data is difficult for a small store with limited resources. Bigger stores — national retail chains like Target or Best Buy — have better ability to collect and correlate whatever data they receive, but consumers are less willing to pass along information to them. There’s definitely a give and take.

The good news is that people are showing signs of being ready and willing to give up location-based information and other type of facts to stores. This, in theory, can help improve the shopping experience, increase the bottom line, and keep them coming back. The bad news is that the distance between theory and reality is still large.

 Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.