Tech can often straddle the line between ‘creepy’ and ‘cool’ – but personalisation firm RichRelevance has asked Brits to rate where technologies fall on the scale.
In its fourth ‘Creepy or Cool’ survey – which was answered by 2,577 respondents across the UK, France and Germany – RichRelevance asked consumers to rate a number of different technologies and trends as either ‘creepy’ or ‘cool’, as well as ascertain sentiment towards the use of AI.
It found there had been a change in UK consumer sentiment towards what is and isn’t ‘cool’.
Previously trendy technologies, such as using fingerprints for payments or interactive mirrors remained ‘cool’, but experienced a decline in popularity compared to 2017, with fingerprints down six per cent to 50 per cent and interactive mirrors down 8.5 per cent to 35.63 per cent.
Instead, newer technologies such as voice search and virtual reality gained the biggest increase in interest with UK customers. Voice search increased its popularity with consumers to 46.32 per cent and virtual reality debuted on the survey with a ‘cool’ score of 40.59 per cent.
Scepticism remained high around the use of facial recognition software but it was emotion detection technology, a new entry for the 2018 survey, which went straight to the top of this year’s ‘creepy’ list.
This refers to technology that adapts your shopping experience depending on your mood and was ranked at 57.98 per cent.
Next on the list was facial recognition technology that recognises your preferences, closely followed by retailers that know when you’ve been paid.
In places four and five were ‘always on’ voice assistants within your home, providing product suggestions based on your conversations, and targeted ads on your phone based on your proximity to certain shops.
The first of the top five ‘cool’ technologies according to UK customers was fingerprint scanning to purchase items and arrange home delivery from the shop floor, at just over 50 per cent.
Then came voice-recognition technology to search for products and smartphone apps that show product information, display videos or even flag where desired items are located.
Virtual reality goggles that simulate store aisles in your own home came in fourth, with the use of digital screens, interactive mirrors and virtual reality glasses in dressing rooms in fifth place.
“This year, the technologies which customers have branded ‘cool’ are those that increase convenience or improve the customer experience, online and offline, with an appropriate trade-off against their privacy,” said RichRelevance VP Sales, EMEA Henrik Nambord.
“However, it is clear that UK consumers still do not fully understand AI. As such, not only do retailers need to be transparent about how they use AI, but also emphasise its benefits – primarily its ability to make the customer shopping experience more memorable than ever before.”
The survey also revealed that while close to a third of UK customers are willing to share more personal data to improve their shopping experience, they are less willing to hand it over than their European counterparts.
Such privacy fears could be based on a lack of understanding, as only 25 per cent of UK consumers signalled they are familiar with artificial intelligence – in comparison to 37 per cent in France and 67 per cent in Germany.
However, a further 38 per cent of Brits would be willing to share more data, if it was collected anonymously – referring to the ability to collect data without explicitly linking to an individual.