Lots of people possess smartphones and use mobile apps for a variety of purposes, but that doesn’t mean they’re altogether comfortable with shopping apps that track their whereabouts and text promotional messages.
This type of app has been touted as the next big thing for retailers, as it allows them to follow customers while they shop and tempt them with offers if they’re nearby. However, a survey of 3,000 mobile app users indicates shoppers are a little creeped out by that prospect.
More than 71% of respondents said they don’t want merchants to track them via smartphone. They were a little more receptive to getting push notifications with special offers—only 56% overall were against such messages, although more Apple iOS users than others were willing to receive them. Even so, most of the survey takers didn’t know anything about Apple’s new iBeacon technology, which enables retailers to send notifications to customers while they’re in the physical store.
Despite considerable news coverage of near field communications technology, only 38% of respondents were familiar with it and fewer than 6% actually use it for contactless payments.
The survey was conducted by a company, Retale, that may have reason to be pleased by the results. Retale helps participating retailers get their traditional sales circulars—the kind typically inserted in print newspapers or mailed directly to homes—into shoppers’ hands by aggregating them online by geographical location.