According to ISACA's 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, two-thirds (67 percent) of American consumers believe certain personalized promotional tactics are invasive when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.
In the poll of 1,216 U.S. consumers, 46 percent said say they would find it invasive if a store texts them about specials as they walk past. The same percentage indicated they would find it invasive if a store clerk they didn't know greets them by name and knows they've been there before. Surprisingly, older Millennials (age 25-34) are the group most likely to find these actions invasive.
The survey also found similar apprehension around retailers' use of personal data when it comes to online shopping. Fifty-five percent regard personalized promotional tactics as similarly invasive when shopping on the web. Among online shoppers, 35 percent find it invasive when a website knows their city or zip code. Ninety percent indicate they are concerned that their personal information will be stolen.
The study comes as new technologies, such as facial recognition, geofencing and Bluetooth-enabled beacons, are enabling retailers to use more targeted marketing techniques, often tapping past purchase history and social/digital activity. Privacy concerns have also been heightened in part due to the NSA spying scandal.
ISACA, an association dedicated to the security of information systems, urged IT leaders to protect shoppers' privacy and security. It also highlighted the risks of data breaches, viruses and malware from employees using work computers to shop online.
"Despite how much information people share online, they still cherish the concept of personal privacy," said John Pironti, risk advisor with ISACA and president of IP Architects. "Retailers that use technology to try to save shoppers time and money without asking permission first may actually do more harm than help to their bottom line this holiday season."
The findings contrast with an online survey of Canadian shoppers conducted in the spring by Leger, the market research company in Canada, for SAS. At the time, the survey indicated that 58 percent of Canadians would be interested in receiving personalized promotions from nearby stores while out shopping.
In the next few years, will privacy concerns hinder efforts by marketers to personalize in-store promotions?