Consumers are getting pickier: 48% of 8,000 consumers surveyed by Accenture Interactive said they have left websites because shopping experiences were poorly curated, according the consulting firm’s 2018 Personalization Pulse Report.
While consumers don’t want their shopping journeys entirely defined by retailers and brands, 75% of those surveyed said they would create and manage profiles on sites that brands could then use to make product recommendations and curate experiences.
That said, 35% of consumers surveyed admitted to getting creeped out when they see ads on social networking sites for products they earlier viewed on a brand’s website.
Shoppers want some level of personalization or curated shopping experiences. As the Accenture report further showed, 91% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to shop with brands who recognize and provide relevant offers and recommendations, and 83% said they were willing to share their data to make this work.
But, having the confidence that consumers want personalized experiences and finding the right degree of personalization to deliver to them are two different things, and the latter remains elusive. Perhaps that’s why folks like Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner at RSR Research, have told Retail Dive in the past: "Personalization is a bit like the weather — everyone talks about it, but almost no one is really doing anything about it."
Still, Forrester Research has said retailers are investing more money in personalization than in any other area. Something’s happening here, even if it’s a bit difficult to define. Retailers and brands just need to figure out what works and what doesn’t — and sooner rather than later given that the percentage of consumers who ended shopping visits over poor curation grew by about 8% last year compared to 2016, according to the report. Shoppers are getting impatient.
So, what doesn’t work? Well, 41% of those surveyed getting a texting from a retailer or brand when you are walking right by that company’s store is creepy. What does work? As obvious as it seems, 45% of those surveyed like the idea of getting an e-mail apology from a store when a shopping experience goes poorly.
Ultimately, the willingness of consumers to share data and create personal profiles for brands and retailers to leverage on their behalf suggests personalization can work. But, as Accenture noted, the development of these experiences needs to be guided by a two-way conversation between retailer and customer that leaves shoppers feeling like they still have control of their own data, and that they can trust retailers and brands to use it wisely. That means not sharing it with others, and not over-using it, but leveraging it in a way that helps consumers discover something both completely new and completely relevant.