Hi-tech shopping can't evolve unless security is fixed

Data loss, high profile hacking cases and security issues are slowing down the public transition to high-tech shopping experiences, says the co-founder of Placr Mr Jonathan Raper.

Speaking at Bing's 'Local is the new Global' event at London's Hospital Club today, Raper discussed what he believes to be the biggest hindrance to the way we shop from evolving into something far more informed, reports tech mag Wired.

"I think that retail needs to keep its house in order, take nothing for granted about what people will tolerate or expect," warned Raper. "I think they need to build their services out very cautiously, they need to be very strict about privacy and security, in order to ensure that the reputational risks are controlled. Without that, none of the other good things can happen."

There was much discussion on whether smartphone technology and its integration with the experience could save high-street shopping, which has been suffering a slow decline alongside the growth of online buying and selling.

"What we had seen was consumers going online with a plethora of information and transacting online, and being comfortable with that. We're now seeing the emergence of a different kind of behaviour - a hybrid behaviour," continued Raper.

"My opinion is that mobile is going to help rejuvenate the retail environment. You can see that not only are consumers starting to work with brands that provide that purchase-and-search facility at a local level, but you're seeing an infrastructure that's building up around that as well."

Raper also said that he liked the idea of using location data to alert customers to potential deals or purchases nearby that they might be interested in - but warned that keeping data like this secure was paramount if retailers want consumers to use this technology.

Trouble is, many consumers don't want anyone knowing their location when they're out and about - whether or not they can keep it secure, and whether or not it's under the guise of offering updates on what users might want to buy.

WAnd another thing Mr Raper perhaps hasn't taken into consideration is content bubbles. It's not finding what we want straight away that allows us to experience different things. Being directed to where the best deals are by your phone might be handy, but would that make it as satisfying when you found them?