With technology allowing more access than ever to consumers’ habits, preferences and personal information, retailers have a major opportunity to impact their shoppers’ experiences positively. Consumers have expressed a desire for this increased accommodation to their specific interests when shopping, with a majority (56 percent) valuing retailers’ personalized offers within their shopping experiences, as reported in our most recent global study, The New Topography of Retail.
Consumers’ appetite for personalized offers is somewhat counterintuitive, considering their general awareness of new privacy regulations like the European Union’s recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (52 percent) and, more importantly, their desire to exercise these data protection rights (86 percent). Within our study, we surveyed 15,500 consumers about their views on privacy and personalization; supply chain visibility; and readiness for emerging technologies like facial recognition, virtual sales assistants and drone delivery. Here's what we found:
Personalization and Increased Communication Don’t Equate
Despite consumers interest in receiving more personalized information from retailers, they don’t necessarily want increased engagement from retailers using their data. Most consumers in North America (87 percent) say they would request brands remove their personal information if given the option. More significantly, 45 percent of consumers in North America and 34 percent of Europeans would remove their data from all brands they engage with if given the option. These results demonstrate a customer's idealized experience of both a relevant and personalized relationship with brands, albeit an anonymous one.
Failing to Meet Consumers’ Expectations
Consumers don't trust that brands recognize their interests based on the data they currently provide. Only 16 percent of European consumers agreed that the offers they receive from retailers are always personalized or relevant. Similarly, only 22 percent of consumers agreed with this globally.
Global consumers do have an interest in receiving real-time offers based on browsing habits, however, with 47 percent indicating that they would like to receive real-time offers reflecting what they’ve been browsing online. More prominently, consumers recognize a difference between a personalized offer and a relevant one, with 75 percent believing these two are different.
Increased Awareness Behind the Curtain
As retailers are adopting more expansive and increasingly digital supply chain and logistics operations, consumers want increased insight into the life cycles of their orders. More than half (54 percent) of global consumers expect to have visibility into store inventory and have the ability to research and reserve items for same-day store pickup. Most notably, they want real-time updates on orders delivered to their homes, with 72 percent of customers expecting real-time updates on the location of an item throughout the delivery process.
Customers desire for transparency extends to retail employees as well, especially when it comes to knowledge of their purchases. Most North American consumers expect customer service teams to know the date of their original purchase, and 57 percent expect teams to identify their original method of payment. Overall, employee knowledge is critical to customer loyalty, with most consumers (74 percent both globally and in North America) stating that knowledgeable in-store staff is important to their brand experience.
Consumers also want more honesty relating to sustainability, with more than half (52 percent) attributing brand loyalty to a retailer’s commitment to environmental sustainability. This loyalty to sustainability efforts is most prominent for grocery (56 percent) and fashion (52 percent), reinforcing customers’ values are shared by the brands they trust most.
Amber Trendell is the marketing director of global campaigns at Oracle Retail.
Amber Trendell is Global Marketing Director at Oracle Retail, an integrated suite of Cloud services that combines reliability, security, cost savings, seamless interoperability, and embedded machine learning and AI.
Oracle Retail marketing is a dedicated team of professionals focused on driving growth, cultivating best practices, and building relationships across the retail ecosystem. Amber leads the global campaigns team which is responsible for content and digital strategy, demand generation and analytics.