While, on one hand, our nation is in the middle of a great debate over privacy and what gets seen by whom, on the other hand, retailers are trying to find more ways to get people to give up their personal details, voluntarily if possible.
One possibility explored is to track a person's location via WiFi signals on their smartphones. One independent study found that women are willing to share personal information with retailers as long as they receive value in return. In other words, just pay them enough and they'll let you track them as they shop. And what these women said they would take in trade for being tracked was surprising.
Personalized offers and content hold strong allure for female shoppers. According to the study "What Women Want When Apparel Shopping," 50 percent would willingly share their mobile phone's location and other personal information with a retailer in return for an in-store credit, a gift, flash sale or early access to new styles. For 47 percent, the price tag for sharing mobile location information is just $5. Women are almost twice as likely to value a personalized offer delivered to their smartphone while shopping in a store (58 percent), than being reminded of an in-store sale by a sales associate (33 percent) or making a purchase from an online flash sale site (31 percent).
"Consumers aren't completely opposed to sharing their location information – it's commonly done with social, weather and traffic apps – but they do want to have control over that information and get a tangible benefit in return for sharing it," stated Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Swirl, the company that conducted the study. "The same rules apply in retail: if brands create value (like highly relevant, personalized offers and content) for in-store shoppers by using their location, then consumers would be much more willing to share that information."