Data For Discounts: New Report Shows Consumers Are Willing to Share Information

A major piece of research by GE Lighting has revealed that consumers are far more willing to share private data with retailers, such as their mobile phone location, than previously imagined – and indeed that there is a real desire for the kind of in-store connected services this information could support.

Data For Discounts: New Report Shows Consumers Are Willing to Share Information

Only 21 per cent of the shoppers surveyed said that they did not trust retailers to handle their location data in a safe and secure manner, suggesting that concerns about privacy and information sharing may have been over stated.

The survey, which was conducted in partnership with Retail Week, asked 1,000 consumers across a variety of age ranges about their opinions of indoor positioning systems (IPS) within their retail experience.

This type of system works by using technology such as Bluetooth beacons, cameras or Visible Light Communication (VLC) to communicate with customers' phones. Normally integrated into existing infrastructure, such as the lighting fittings, IPS enables retailers to pinpoint the customer's location within one or two metres accuracy.

Not only were 79 per cent of respondents willing to share their data or willing to share it with some reservations, 75 per cent of shoppers commented that retailers could do a better job of providing navigation support around the store. In addition, 59 per cent of the consumers surveyed said that they would be more likely to visit a retailer if they offered personalised promotions and deals sent via a smart phone, which could be achieved easily through the use of mobile data engagement.

Interestingly, the results showed a significant split in the age groups, with concerns about privacy being far less pronounced among younger consumers. Only eight per cent of 18 to 24 year olds noted that they distrusted retailers to handle their location data, compared to 28 per cent for those aged over 55.

Placing control of the level of engagement in the hands of the consumer appeared to alleviate many of these concerns, with 59 per cent of respondents claiming that they would prefer to have the choice of opting in to services that track their position in store.

James Fleet, Head of Retail Specification at GE Lighting commented: “The results are interesting because they contradict pre-conceived ideas about the willingness of consumers to share their information with retailers. Increasingly, we're seeing that customers are quite happy to engage with brands in this way, as long as they receive something in return.

“Indoor positioning systems open up a new channel of communication between retailers and consumers, allowing them to offer a much more personalised shopping experience – by providing timely and targeted discount offers and product information, for example. For high street retailers that are finding it harder than ever to compete with the convenience and low prices of online outlets, this can provide a vital means of clawing back some of the lost revenue.”

Almost 39 per cent of consumers said they had used their smart phone whilst in a retailer's store to check the price of products against that of competitors, while a further 66 per cent noted that the ability to use a mobile application to search for product information in real time would ultimately improve the in-store shopping experience. This is a real problem area for retailers, which could be helped significantly through the use of mobile engagement.

The full results of the survey are available in a downloadable report. To access the report please visit

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