Retail customers want to do more anonymously with smartphones
By Jay Keller
Consumers remain very open to greater use of their phones as a tool to get the best prices in their shopping activities but overwhelmingly have great reservations about providing to retailers their location or other personal information to get discounts.
Ironically, retail customers said they are interested in doing more with devices if retailers made more options available.
These findings were among several contained in Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2013, a report published recently by the Consumer Research Section of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA).
When asked to select the types of activity they would be interested in performing with their mobile phones if the services are available, the majority want to use smartphones to get the best prices in shopping activity.
Nearly 3 in 10 respondents say they would like to receive and manage discount offers and coupons while 26 percent express interest in receiving location-based offers.
Similarly, they would like to use their phones to buy things at the point of sale (22 percent) and to store gift cards or track loyalty/reward points (21 percent).
Consumers also report that they would use their mobile phones to manage their personal finances on a daily basis (25 percent).
Consumers showed a bit of discomfort when asked to answer questions related to location and allowing retailers to see and use that location-based info to offer discounts, promotions or services based on “where I am.”
Only four percent said they would strongly favor providing this information to the public while 26 percent were simply in favor of providing this information to retailers.
In contrast, however, 68 percent strongly disagree (40%) or disagree (28%) with allowing retailers to access and use location-based promotions.
Additionally, consumers polled in the survey were even less willing to allow their phones to be used to provide companies with personal information in order to receive targeted discounts, promotions, and offers.
Personal information, according to the survey, includes such details as sex, age, friends and shopping history.
A whopping 82 percent of respondents object to the idea with 50 percent saying they “strongly disagree” while at least 32 percent simply “disagree” with the question.
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