The data conundrum: will tomorrow’s shoppers trade data for better shopping?

Half of millennials express scepticism about sharing more data in return for enhanced retail experiences, but will this really stifle tech trends?

The data conundrum: will tomorrow’s shoppers trade data for better shopping?

With the wealth of benefits that technology brings to the modern consumer, one of the greatest challenges will be understanding what data they are willing to give up in exchange for a better service.

Technology is set to enable a future retail environment that will provide increasingly impressive levels of personalisation and customisation. In delivering this modern retail experience, the industry will require increasing amounts of data about their consumers. Yet alongside the customer benefits of this transformation comes the challenge of sacrifice. 

The data conundrum

The question of data sacrifice will present one of the greatest challenges to the evolution of retail, according to recent research by Epson looking at how technology will impact the industry of tomorrow. According to 42 percent of the retail workforce in Europe, this data conundrum will be one of the biggest barriers to industry-wide evolution. Retailers are uncertain if customers will be happy trading data privacy for a more personal and tailored shopping experience.

Surprisingly, scepticism about this data sacrifice is high in relation to Millennials, a demographic that is traditionally perceived as less concerned about data proliferation, with 50 percent of retailers suggesting they will be unwilling to make the trade. More predictably the figure is higher still for those aged over 50, with 64 percent of respondents believing these customers are not willing to trade data privacy for a more advanced shopping experience.

The benefits of data sacrifice

The reality of this data trade-off could deliver substantial rewards for customers. Those 58 percent that are willing to accept this trade are set for a revolutionised retail experience, where stores provide hubs for customised and personalised products.  Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will enable unique, real-time insight into products and options based on customer preference, while 3D printing technology will deliver customised products on-demand.

This technological transformation could also eliminate one of the more irritating elements of the retail experience – the need to queue. Our research reveals that as point-of-sale functionality evolves, queuing time in stores will be eliminated, according to 45 percent of retail respondents.

Automatic identification of customers in stores will further support an ultra-personalised experience, and one which will be ultra-fast, with 53% of respondents agreeing that transactions will be processed automatically thanks to debit sensors.

The retail revolution is now

The benefits of this technological revolution are apparent in the retail industry today. Visa Europe statistics show a 150 percent year-on-year rise of contactless payments in the year to April 2016, meaning more consumers taking advantage of rapid payment technology. AR and VR spending in Europe is expected to double in 2017, with retail being one of the fastest growing areas for use.

There will no doubt be ongoing increases in the emergence of stores that adopt the use of data to enhance the customer experience, as thirst for that expanded experience grows. It’s also true that consumers will need to be presented with the choice to opt-out. Ultimately then the real question becomes, will consumer desire for this revolutionary retail experience outweigh concerns of the data we must sacrifice to enjoy it? 

Want to know more?

The full report has all the insights, you can download it here.