Wearables and artificial intelligence were ranked as the top “creepy” technologies among consumers in the fourth annual “Creepy or Cool” report from RichRelevance. The study surveyed 1,037 consumers in the United States.

 

Clothing and wearables with sensors/tracking devices that allow retailers to track users in exchange for a discount ranked as the creepiest technology (76% of consumers), followed by artificial intelligence (69%).  Consumers (61%) were also put off by facial recognition technology that identifies a loyal customer as soon as they enter, and relays preferences to the in-store salesperson…

 

Younger shoppers (ages 18-29) are more willing to embrace some of the newer technologies.  For example, younger shoppers feel that AI-based personalization is valuable (66%) and are less likely to find innovation creepy than older shoppers…

 

When it comes to computer programs (such as chatbots) that use AI to help users answer customer service questions rather than a real person, overall 41% of customers find these creepy, compared to 27% of Millennials.  And 36% consider augmented reality apps that allow them to view products in a store, and then display information and recommendations, including whether to replenish what you have at home, as creepy.

Source: ChainStoreAge.com

Lightbulb Moment: Creep factor is often born of ignorance.  What helps diminish this effect is forming an alliance with consumers.  You are not their Hero – consumers are the Hero, they don’t need another.  You are their guide allowing them to achieve their goals and become the Hero in their own lives.  Technology can help with this if it is not alienating.  Best to play the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi and allow the consumer to be Luke Skywalker.