Characterizing consumer concerns about identification technology

  • Trocchia P
  • Ainscough T
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Purpose – Retailer's use of advanced technology to identify consumers has broad and, for many individuals, disturbing social implications. This study seeks to uncover consumer concerns regarding various identification technologies that may be encountered in present and future retail environments. Design/methodology/approach – Subjects were asked to describe, in writing, concerns that they might have regarding six identification technologies. Content analysis was employed in order to place consumer concerns regarding biometric and radio frequency identification device technology into meaningful categories. Findings – Eight specific categories of concern emerged which fall under three general themes: concerns regarding the technology itself, concerns regarding the security of collected data, and existential issues regarding interaction with the technology. Research limitations/implications – This research provides a framework for academic researchers to further develop a model of consumer interaction with identification technology. Therefore, an empirical follow-up study, using a representative sample, should be conducted in order to expand the findings of this research. Practical implications – This research study makes use of qualitative elicitation techniques to uncover specific areas of concern that may be addressed and alleviated prior to a technology's introduction. Originality/value – This paper fills a gap in the existing literature with regard to our knowledge of consumer concerns and fears about identification technology.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ethics
  • Identification
  • Marketing
  • Privacy
  • Radiofrequencies

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  • Philip J. Trocchia

  • Thomas L. Ainscough

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