Consumers Demand AI Transparency

RichRelevance’s fourth annual “Creepy or Cool” survey reveals that artificial intelligence (AI) has entered the mainstream with two out of three Americans (67%) reporting that they’re at least somewhat familiar with the term. One in three respondents (32%) are at least somewhat positive about AI, yet an overwhelming majority (81%) think companies are obligated to tell consumers that they’re using AI - and how they’re using it.


Despite recent news cycles on how companies misuse customer data, a majority of Americans (59%) remain willing to share data in return for a better customer experience and most (40%) say it should be collected anonymously - referring to the ability to collect without explicitly linking to an individual for personalization purposes. This is on par with 2017, where 63% said they would allow retailers to collect more customer data to improve the customer experience.

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The survey also asked Americans to share their opinions on specific technologies to improve the shopping experience. Key findings include:




Clothing and wearables include sensors/tracking devices that allow retailers to track you in exchange for a discount.

• 76% Creepy (vs. 10% Cool)


Companies understand your shopping habits so well that they are able to use artificial intelligence to choose and automatically order products on your behalf.

• 69% Creepy (vs. 14% Cool)


Facial recognition technology identifies you as a loyal customer as soon as you enter and relays your preferences to the salesperson in-store.

• 61% Creepy (vs. 24% Cool)




Robots guide you to specific products within store aisles upon request.

• 48% Cool (vs. 32% Creepy)


You can use fingerprint scanning to pay for items and get automatic home delivery, all from the store floor.

• 46% Cool (vs. 31% Creepy)


Millennial Divide


Younger shoppers (ages 18-29) are keen to embrace new technologies. Younger shoppers feel that AI-based personalization is valuable (66%) and are less likely to find innovation creepy. Significant generation gaps include:


Computer programs (such as chatbots) use artificial intelligence to help you answer customer service questions, rather than a real person.

• Overall: 41% Creepy; Millennials: 27% Creepy


An augmented reality app allows you to view products in a store and then displays associated information and recommendations, including whether you need to replenish what you have at home.

• Overall: 36% Creepy; Millennials: 26% Creepy


Voice assistants within your home (Amazon Alexa, Google Home) provides personalized product information and suggested products for you and your family.

• Overall: 41% Creepy; Millennials: 32% Creepy


The survey of 1,037 US consumers was conducted in May 2018. For more information, visit RichRelevance.

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